Janelle Monáe - The ArchAndroid
Record Label: Bad Boy/Wondaland/Atlantic
Release Date: May 18, 2010
Janelle Monáe has spent the better part of the last two years captivating audiences across the nation. Her 2007 debut EP, Metropolis Suite I of IV, managed to make a small dent in pop culture. The record anchored the first phase of her career, which allowed for her to build an unexplainable buzz around certain parts of the country.
The ArchAndroid [Suites II and III] brings us back around to Monáe’s unconventional concept series which follows her robotic alter ego Cindi Mayweather, as she maintains a balance with her struggle of power and wealth in a society set sometime after the year 2700. Despite being quite the concept for the average listener to grasp, it’s easy for it to fly virtually undetected as Monáe serves it through the medium of a predominantly accessible, yet genre-bending opus.
Despite the fluid and cohesive production that riddles The ArchAndroid, Monáe’s pipes will carry this record to that shelf of mainstays in your music collection. She can belt with the best of them (“Come Alive”), manages to get outright funky (“Cold War”) and even creates a new dance (“Tightrope”) along the way.
The ArchAndroid is layered, intricate and lengthy. Clocking in at nearly 70 minutes will inevitably lead to a tasking undertaking. You’ll take very little from one listen, as the album is adventurous and ambitious and often tiptoes into a more substantial art form (see: musicals, films, et al). Even the guest appearances are as eclectic as her overall sound could hint at. Big Boi (“Tightrope”), Saul Williams (“Dance or Die”) and Of Montreal (“Make the Bus”) maintain lasting impressions and noteworthy contribution to the project as a whole.
As an artist who really came into her own on Outkast’s “Call the Law” (off of 2007’s Idlewild), it’s hard to pin her down as just an Outkast affiliate or by-product, even despite the Big Boi executive producer credit. Through her homebrew of R&B, pop, funk and blends of soul, disco and punk, one has to wonder how she’s even managed to have been marketed thus far. Pay no mind to the Gagas and Aguileras, as Janelle Monáe has revolutionized the female in the music industry yet again, while giving the genre a swift kick in the groin in the process.
After a whole year, this white dude still cannot get enough of this record. It's my favorite of 2010. Even beats Gorillaz. AND of Montreal's False Priest. Coming from a guy who'd eat chips out of Kevin Barnes knickers, thats impressive. Did one of the weworemasks lads review this?