• Record Label: Bad Boy
  • Release Date: Apr 27, 2018
Metascore
87

Universal acclaim - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 33
  2. Negative: 0 out of 33
Buy On
  1. 100
    Though it dissects insecurities and shortcomings as much as it does success, Dirty Computer unabashedly refuses to downplay or apologize for its behavior. ... With this forthright attitude comes fresh ways for Monáe to play on subject matters.
  2. Q Magazine
    May 8, 2018
    100
    Fierce, honest and a challenge to the forces of obsolescence, Dirty Computer feels like a vital upgrade from a true renegade. [Jul 2018, p.110]
  3. Apr 27, 2018
    100
    There is a concept here, but it is Janelle Monáe; there is a story here, but it is Janelle Monáe’s. And she’s outdone herself in both the execution of this vision and its resonance.
  4. 100
    A record that will go down as a milestone not just as a work of art in its own right, but as the perfect celebration of queerness, female power, and self-worth.
  5. 100
    This record isn’t a monument to His Royal Badness. It’s one of the greatest artists of our time carrying Prince’s baton into the new world.
  6. Apr 27, 2018
    100
    Dirty Computer establishes itself as a contender for album of the year, in more ways than one. The witty, interlinked songs tackle subjects that have fuelled much of the discourse around “woke” social consciousness in the age of #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter.
  7. Apr 27, 2018
    100
    Taking stock of the dizzying array of touchstones on this record, this also the sound of an auteur hellbent on short circuiting all convention. ... Dirty Computer might just be the record that finally elevates her to pop’s highest echelons
  8. 91
    Monáe is, as always, a true master of melding genres, influences, and styles. Her central themes of identity and internal conflict are as tangible on Dirty Computer as they ever have been.
  9. 91
    As a whole, Dirty Computer strikes the perfect balance between joy and sadness, offering a deeply resonant account of Monáe’s personal experiences as a black woman. Some of these experiences are unquestionably difficult. Yet in relaying them to us, Monáe never deprives herself (or the listener) of pride, joy, or autonomy.
  10. May 2, 2018
    90
    With funky guitars riffs and breezy melodies, Monáe's latest effort manages to resemble a throwback and tribute to the Purple One yet avoids feeling too nostalgic.
  11. Apr 30, 2018
    90
    In its own way, its as artful, ambitious, determined, joyous and inspiring, as Lemonade or To Pimp a Buttery. It's a sexy MF-ing masterpiece.
  12. Apr 27, 2018
    90
    None of this would matter much if the songs didn’t deliver, and at its best, “Dirty Computer” entwines racial and gender politics into a double-helix of liberated lyrics and skillfully askew musicianship.
  13. Apr 27, 2018
    90
    With her third album Dirty Computer, that she’s truly achieved a tour-de-force. ... There are times though where Monáe’s feminism feels disappointingly cis- and vagina-focused--I wish she’d taken the time to explore the politics of non-cis women and non-binary people a little more. But Dirty Computer succeeds at what it came to do--it’s here to make you think, and it’s here to make you dance. It is the most clearly delivered result of Monáe’s vision so far.
  14. Apr 27, 2018
    90
    While this is easily the most loaded Monáe album in terms of guests, with Brian Wilson, Stevie Wonder, and Grimes among the contributors, there's no doubt that it's a Wondaland product. It demonstrates that artful resistance and pop music are not mutually exclusive.
  15. Apr 25, 2018
    90
    An LP so irresistibly danceable and irrefutably topical that it'll also leave generations of up-and-comers clamouring to team up with Janelle Monáe.
  16. Apr 28, 2018
    88
    It’s a rawer, less elaborate work than its predecessors, yet still hugely ambitious.
  17. May 7, 2018
    85
    On Dirty Computer, she finally makes good on her promise, keeping the fearlessness of her earlier albums while refining her focus. This album is only 48 minutes long, but it feels as ambitious and grand as her previous 70-minute releases. In the process, she has raised the standard for her music.
  18. The Wire
    Jul 13, 2018
    80
    She mostly succeeds at marrying that [transcendent black pop] to a sound that’s broader and more accessible than anything she’s put out to date. [Jul 2018, p.53]
  19. May 16, 2018
    80
    While some fans of her earlier, more challenging, material may be mildly disappointed sonically by such a straight-up pop record, even they must acknowledge what an important album this is both personally to Monae and socially to the current world, and for that, it is a successful and pleasurable work.
  20. May 3, 2018
    80
    Her ability to transcend her influences has always been song-to-song, and that’s true here, too. But it also feels like she is inching closer to a breakthrough: an album that fully lives up to her reputation and ambition.
  21. Apr 29, 2018
    80
    It's the full-on pop record that Monáe had been hinting at for years, and though some of her stylistic choices may not age well--especially when she veers into trap territory - she approaches them with a kind of flighty confidence.
  22. Apr 29, 2018
    80
    A warm and vibrant tribute to the marginalized people, especially women and those with fluid ideas about gender and sexuality, whom Monáe sees as the true embodiment of America's promise.
  23. Apr 28, 2018
    80
    It is a juicy, genre-crossing pop record ripe with the funk, which somehow combines Beyoncé’s Lemonade and St Vincent’s Masseduction with lashings of Lauryn Hill.
  24. Apr 28, 2018
    80
    It’s Prince’s ghost that reigns supreme over the record, and while she nails both absorbing his spirit and infusing her own, there are times when you wish she would push the envelope a little harder, as she has on previous records.
  25. May 1, 2018
    77
    Monáe has given us a pop record that feels gleefully youthful, perhaps even the album she wishes she could have had as a teen in Kansas City. The songwriting is precise if not always flawless.
  26. May 3, 2018
    74
    Dirty Computer falters along the way with a few weak hooks and some questionable lyrics but at least she was able to wipe out the old Monáe and reboot who she’s truly meant to be--both artistically and personally.
  27. Jun 27, 2018
    70
    After navigating complex matrices of identity under an indulgent, accessible veneer, Dirty Computer is ultimately--even “simply”--a cathartic assertion of self in a hostile system.
  28. May 4, 2018
    70
    Dirty Computer succeeds overall because of it mostly delivers the same elements that made the Metropolis lineage soar.
  29. Apr 27, 2018
    70
    While the songs here are consistently hooky, they lack the earlier albums' sonic adventurousness.
  30. 70
    What held together the sounds from her previous records for me were the classical segments, the overarching concepts, the storytelling and the interludes between songs (admittedly these aren’t enormously popular or easily translatable to a live show), which are completely removed here. Given the switch in tone, it feels like Monae is more comfortable in her skin and her sound, but is this a good thing for the music?
  31. Oct 5, 2018
    67
    Hints of Michael Jackson's melodic moonwalking lace in the type of hip-hop ennui that will appeal to fans of Solange's A Seat at the Table, plus a sexy swagger of feminist liberation that screams 2018.
  32. Mojo
    May 21, 2018
    60
    She repeatedly refers to her inability to express her emotions fully--which is exactly how Dirty Computer leaves you feeling. [Jul 2018, p.88]
  33. Apr 27, 2018
    60
    You occasionally wonder if an understandable desire to cross over commercially might not be at the root of the album’s less inspired moments: there’s something commonplace and risk-averse about the pop-R&B backing of Crazy, Classic, Life and I Got the Juice.
User Score
8.5

Universal acclaim- based on 588 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 42 out of 588
  1. Apr 27, 2018
    10
    Pure excellent artistry is simply at work in this album. She touches on raw, unabashed identity and what it means to be a proud black,Pure excellent artistry is simply at work in this album. She touches on raw, unabashed identity and what it means to be a proud black, non-gender conforming individual in America given the sociopolitical context of our current modern society. She also utilizes exemplary elements from familiar artists in her work such as Prince and Grimes while also introducing new players into her discography such as the promising Zoë Kravitz and Brian Wilson from the iconic Beach Boys. Furthermore, the album is accompanied by an awe-inspiring 'emotion picture' that only attests to her sheer vision and creative innovation as an artist who is willing to cross traditional genres and boundaries in music and film. Indeed, Dirty Computer will truly withstand as one of her most ambitious projects of all time. Full Review »
  2. Apr 27, 2018
    10
    My personal Album of the Year! Such a perfect masterpiece. Even though female empowerment through female sexuality is nothing new, the use ofMy personal Album of the Year! Such a perfect masterpiece. Even though female empowerment through female sexuality is nothing new, the use of queerness in her lyrics and visuals is just bold and outstanding. Personal favs: Screwed, Django Jane, PYNK, I Like That. Full Review »
  3. Apr 27, 2018
    10
    Every song in this album is so good! I especially love how she does the transitions between each song, makes it a very smooth listeningEvery song in this album is so good! I especially love how she does the transitions between each song, makes it a very smooth listening experience. The singles were exceptional but there are no filler songs in it at all Full Review »