Wondaland Records is back.
She’s a self-made queen, a leading social activist for the android movement, a pop star, and now she’s finally back.
Janelle Monáe is returning to the role of Cindi Mayweather, the android that exists in a dystopian future where androids live in fear and oppression, in her fourth album Dirty Computer. Through her work, which ranges from fun pop songs to beautiful ballads, Monáe has constructed her world using musical themes and powerful imagery, and her new “emotion picture” looks like it’ll use those same techniques.
A short 30-second teaser trailer for Dirty Computers has dropped, and it is appropriately making an appearance before moviegoers seeing Black Panther. In the YouTube bio for the video, Monáe defines an emotion picture as “a narrative film and accompanying musical album,” so it looks like the album and the film will play out directly, hand-in-hand. It’s hard to make out any specific details in the trailer besides quick images and some dialogue.
The trailer starts off with Monáe on some kind of futuristic operating table, possibly there against her will. More imagery flashes that establishes the world well: there’s a fun side, with dancing, music, and love.
Underneath, though, lies oppression and violence. Actress Tessa Thompson will apparently play a sizable role, and there’s a shot where she’s being abducted by a scary masked military-looking team. She also seems to be a love interest for Monáe’s character, as there are a few shots of them in a loving embrace.
Everything fits into the thematic world that Monáe has built, with graffiti filled suburban streets, a floating car, bright vibrant lighting and colors, and clothing that would only fit into a world of tomorrow.
The trailer’s dialogue comes to a close on a shot of the tattoo on Monáe’s arm, which is apparently a representation of the Wicker Man. “They drained us of our dirt, and all the things that made us special,” she says. “And then you were lost. Sleeping. And you didn’t remember anything at all.”
The buildup of Monáe’s futuristic world began in 2007 with Metropolis: The Chase Suite, and was further expanded in 2010 with The ArchAndroid and in 2013 with The Electric Lady. Based on previous music videos like Q.U.E.E.N., Dirty Computer is sure to have dazzling imagery, thought-provoking thematic themes, and, most importantly, Janelle Monáe being bad as hell.
Check out the trailer for Dirty Computer below, and let us know if you’re excited to return to the world of Wondaland.