Playlist: Sci-Fi Suites

Electric Lady
Courtesy Interscope Records

Yardfest headliner Janelle Monae’s forays into futuristic soul on her albums “The ArchAndroid” and “The Electric Lady” aren’t the first time a popular musician has crafted albums around heady concepts of dystopia and (occasionally) utopia. This week, the Arts Blog explores a few of our other favorite sci-fi-themed albums.

“Deltron 3030” – Deltron 3030 (2000)


Del the Funky Homosapien may be best known for his endless verse on Gorillaz’ “Clint Eastwood,” but this futuristic collaboration with Dan the Automator and Kid Koala is his masterpiece. Del’s dense narrative about a 31st-century MC who becomes Galactic Rhyme Federation Champion weaves around bleakly infectious beats, producing one of the definitive hip-hop albums of this millennium, even if it’s set in the next one.


“Moon Colony Bloodbath” – The Mountain Goats and John Vanderslice (2009)

This vinyl-only split EP was released around the same time as John Darnielle’s heavily biblical album “The Life of the World to Come,” and centers loosely on the employees of an organ-harvesting operation on the Moon. With its upbeat strumming and hand-claps, the album doesn’t sound heavy, but its lyrics paint a desolate picture of Asimovian ennui; the speaker of “Surrounded” sings, “I find a broadcast station that’s signed off for the night / And the static floods the speakers in glorious black and white / On my ninety-six inch television screen / Let me die. / Let me die surrounded by machines.”


“Preservation Act 2” – The Kinks (1974)