Janelle Monae – The Archandroid 4.5/5
Few artists can transcend genre without falling victim to their own limitations or overly ambitious dreams, Janelle Monae on the other hand is an example of a truly gifted artist. The charismatic Kansas City native, embarks on the second and third parts of the Metropolis suites in The Archandroid. An 18-track stunner that feels more like a summer blockbuster.
“Dance or Die,” is the first taste of Monae’s kaleidoscope of sound, featuring slam poet Saul Williams, it showcases Monae’s spoken-word/rap skills. Like all songs on The Archandroid one song seamlessly transition into the next, leading to the psychedelic thriller of “Faster” and “Locked Inside,” a doo-wop love affair, complete with a stellar groove and simplistic hand claps.
From “Cold War” to “Tightrope,” Monae perfects her funk/soul grooves. “Oh Maker” feels like a modern-day Marvin Gaye number, earnest and heartfelt. While the game changer “Come Alive (The War Of The Rose)” is a dance-punk number that feels surprisingly at home on the record. “Mushrooms & Roses” is pure Hendrix, while the indie rocker “Make The Bus” features a guest appearance from Of Montreal.
The bouncy, carefree “Wondaland” shows off the bubble gum pop side of Monae’s personality. Monae finds common ground with fellow R&B chanteuse Erykah Badu on the laid back affair, “Say You’ll Go”.
If you listen closely the story of Metropolis can be found in The Archandroid, but what makes it such an amazing experience is the non-stop, spectacularly catchy songs, each one a new story. It’s hard not to be in awe of Monae’s endless talent, she maybe the answer to a music landscape sorely missing Lauryn Hill. This genre-bending wonder kid is just what the doctor ordered and produces a near-classic on her debut record.