Janelle Monáe may stick to wearing black-and-white fashions, but the OutKast protégée’s video concepts are more colorful than a Polaroid picture. The singer recently shot two cinematic pieces—“Tightrope,” featuring Big Boi, and “Cold War”—to promote the release of her forthcoming album, The ArchAndroid.
“I shot them in two days,” Monáe tells Rap-Up.com. “I did ‘Tightrope’ first and ‘Cold War’ the next day. Both of them are very touching. I remember crying during ‘Cold War’ [on the] first take. I didn’t know how that happened but it just did. I was very moved by that. It was really a special moment; then everybody else started to cry.”
Both videos, which were shot by director Wendy Morgan (“Going On,” Gnarls Barkley), are in tune with Monáe’s eccentricity. While she won’t reveal if the images will showcase a kaleidoscope of colors, she does admit the visuals are a bit on the wild side. “‘Cold War’ reveals what the ArchAndroid looks like,” she states. “[The video] deals with a psychosis—you’re in my mind and you get a chance to understand Metropolis, where it all stemmed [from] and my thoughts. It’s very psychedelic and trippy.”
As for the bouncy, bass-driven single “Tightrope,” the Kansas native filmed its video in an unlikely place: a sanitarium. “‘Tightrope’ takes place at the Palace of the Dogs,” Monáe reveals. “A lot of the greats were admitted into this place, like Charlie Parker and Jimi Hendrix, to name a couple.” Remaining rather tight-lipped on its premise, she did give insight on some very special guests making a cameo. “Autism savants,” she continues, “they’re very rare and they’re autistic. So basically, what we did, we filmed them being studied there. It’s crazy, you have to see it. It’s fun. We wanted to keep it raw and funky—just having it in an insane asylum made it that much cooler to me.”
Janelle Monáe’s debut effort, The ArchAndroid, which includes Suites II and III of Metropolis, will release on May 18.