Tightrope (Janelle Monáe song)
|Single by Janelle Monáe featuring Big Boi|
|from the album The ArchAndroid|
|Released||February 11, 2010|
|Label||Wondaland Arts Society/Bad Boy Records|
|Writer(s)||Nathaniel Irvin III, Charles Joseph II, Antwan Patton, Janelle Monáe Robinson|
|Producer||Nate Wonder, Chuck Lightning, Janelle Monáe|
|Janelle Monáe singles chronology|
The single premiered on February 11 on Pitchfork Media website, earning an immediate 9/10 rating and their coveted "Best New Music" tag with the companion song entitled "Cold War" debuting the following day via Monáe's official website.
The official remix, titled "Tightrope (Wondamix)", features rappers B.o.B and Lupe Fiasco. It is also featured on the popular game Just Dance 3. The song was featured during the end credits for Happy Feet Two, in a version that interpolates some singing from one of the characters. The song also featured on the last episode of series 3 in the television show 90210.
Speaking in May 2010 to noted UK urban writer Pete Lewis - Deputy Editor of Blues & Soul - Monae discussed the background to the song: "Tightrope is basically dealing with how in life it's important to keep your balance and not get too high or low about things during the time when you're either being praised or being criticised. Which is something that, as artists, Big Boi and I could both relate to, because there are so many peaks and dips along the journey of just being an artist on the road to success. So we both felt it was important to kinda help those everyday working people who are constantly dealing with life's obstacles, by giving them like a tutorial on how to deal with issues face-on."
Tightrope features futuristic/space themes; however, it has also been described to feature "serious old-school entertainer bona fides". Pitchfork Media note that the tracks sped up Alien backing vocals are the only thing that keep the theme of sci-fi and of the future. The song has also been compared to singer Amerie's track 1 Thing. She has also been compared to Katharine Hepburn for her vocals on the track. Pitchfork Media went onto explain "But when the chorus hits, she switches up into a classic soul-singer wail, the type of immediate retro yowl that keeps Sharon Jones in fancy shoes. And after Big Boi struts on in and rhymes "NASDAQ" with "ass crack", she ups the ante, rhyming "alligators" with "rattlesnakers," "another flavor," and "Terminator." It's just a star performance all around, and God knows we need those lately."
Monae released the video on March 31, 2010. The music video was directed by acclaimed director Wendy Morgan. In the music video she portrays an inpatient that possesses the power to walk through walls and later she catches the 'crazy/ dancing feet' with her friends. Monae talked about the video saying "'Tightrope' takes place at the Palace of the Dogs. A lot of the greats were admitted into this place, like Charlie Parker and Jimi Hendrix. We wanted to keep it raw and funky—just having it in an insane asylum made it that much cooler to me." The video references experimental filmmaker Maya Deren's iconic film "Meshes of the Afternoon" (1943).
Monáe performed the song on the Late Show with David Letterman on May 18, 2010, The Ellen DeGeneres Show on May 26, Lopez Tonight on May 27, Last Call with Carson Daly on May 28, and on Dancing with the Stars on September 28. In the UK, the song was the "Single of the Week" on iTunes (i.e. released as a free download) for 7 days (beginning July 13, 2010) to promote the release of her album, The ArchAndroid (Suites II and III). On June 25, 2011, she performed "Tightrope" along with other songs at Glastonbury Festival.
Rolling Stone named "Tightrope" the eighth best single of 2010 in its year-end list. SPIN ranked the song at #9 on its The 20 Best Songs of 2010, and PopMatters placed it at #2 on its The 60 Best Songs of 2010. Spinner named it #38 on its best songs of 2010. NME named the music video of Tightrope #1 on its 50 Best Music Video of 2010.
The song was also featured in the Chevrolet Cruze Canadian commercial to promote the new vehicle and in the American retail chain Kmart Back to School commercial on 2011. It was featured on the unranked list of TIME'S ALL-TIME 100 Songs.
In February 2011, music video blog Yes, We've Got a Video! ranked the song's music video at number 10 in their top 30 videos of 2010, describing the video as "brilliant, shiny spectacle of a music video."
|Belgium (Ultratip Wallonia)||20|
Marcus Collins version
- Janelle Monae's Debut Album, "The ArchAndroid", Due in May; First Single, "Tightrope (Feat. Big Boi)", to Arrive via JanelleMonae.com. Hip Hop Press. Retrieved on May 30, 2010.
- Janelle Monáe - TIghtrope (Wondamix)
- Janelle Monae interview by Pete Lewis, 'Blues & Soul' June 2010
- "The Playlist: Janelle Monáe - "Tightrope" [ft. Big Boi]". Pitchfork. Retrieved April 5, 2011.
- a.m. says: (April 1, 2010). "Janelle Monae Tightrope Official Music Video Premiere". Rnbmusicblog.com. Retrieved April 5, 2011.
- Dombal, Ryan. Janelle Monae Blows Out "Letterman". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved on May 25, 2010
- Upcoming Janelle TV appearances
- Wete, Brad (September 29, 2010). "Janelle Monae walks the 'Tightrope' on Dancing with the Stars: Watch here | The Music Mix | EW.com". Music-mix.ew.com. Retrieved April 5, 2011.
- "Connecting to the iTunes Store". Itunes.apple.com. Retrieved April 5, 2011.
- Staff (December 7, 2010). Rolling Stone's Best Singles of 2010. Rolling Stone. Retrieved on December 7, 2010.
- "The 20 Best Songs of 2010". December 8, 2010. Retrieved January 26, 2011.
- "The 60 Best Songs of 2010". December 24, 2010. Retrieved January 26, 2011.
- "Best Songs of 2010: 50 Tracks That Blew Our Hair Back This Year". Retrieved January 26, 2011.
- "50 Best Music Video of 2010". Retrieved January 26, 2011.
- "Top 30 Videos of 2010: 10 – 1!". Yes, We've Got a Video!. Retrieved March 19, 2012.
- "100 ULTRATIP 18/09/2010". ultratop.be. 2010. Retrieved May 5, 2013.