On Tuesday, Janelle Monae released the track listing for her upcoming album, Dirty Computer, complete with annotations about the inspiration for each track. The song titles and annotations were incredibly inspiring. In case you weren’t able to have an in depth read of the track listing, here’s a break down of the specific book references in Janelle Monae’s Dirty Computer. Consider it as a companion piece for the album release and a way to dive deeper into the inspiration behind the music.
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
Specific reference to the character of Pecola Breedlove.
This was mentioned as a source for Track #1 “Dirty Computer (feat. Brian Wilson).”
Specific verses referenced include:
Genesis 3:16, Genesis 9:20–27, Leviticus 18:22, Leviticus 20:13. Featured as a note on Track #1 “Dirty Computer (feat. Brian Wilson).”
Eve in the Garden of Eden. Listed in the notes for Track #3 “Take a Byte.”
Specific references made to the vibranium of Wakanda (Track #2 “Crazy, Classic, Life”) and the Dora Milaje (Track #6 “Django Jane”).
Women & Power: A Manifesto by Mary Beard.
Specific quote: “It is not just that it is more difficult for women to succeed; they get treated much more harshly if they mess up.”
Listed as a reference for Track #2 “Crazy, Classic, Life.”
American Gods by Neil Gaiman
Specific reference made to Bilquis the Queen of Sheba.
Listed as a note for Track #3 “Take a Byte.”
The Great Cosmic Mother: Rediscovering the Religion of the Earth by Monica Sjoo and Barbara Moor
The specific reference was to late night conversations and debates about this text in connection to international goddesses like Isis and Athena for Track #7 “Pynk (feat. Grimes).”
Vagina: A New Biography by Naomi Wolf
This was listed as an inspiration for Track #7 “Pynk (feat. Grimes),” specifically the insights that the author led to for Janelle.