Janelle MonŠe - The ArchAndroid
Label: Bad Boy Entertainment
Format: 2 x Vinyl, LP, Album
Released: 09 Jul 2010
Genre: Electronic, Funk / Soul
Style: New Wave, Soul, Funk, Neo Soul
A1 Suite II Overture 2:31
A2 Dance Or Die 3:13
Featuring - Saul Williams
A3 Faster 3:19
A4 Locked Inside 4:17
A5 Sir Greendown 2:15
B1 Cold War 3:25
B2 Tightrope 4:22
Featuring - Big Boi
B3 Neon Gumbo 1:38
B4 Oh, Maker 3:47
B5 Come Alive (The War Of The Roses) 3:23
C1 Mushrooms & Roses 5:41
C2 Suite III Overture 1:42
C3 Neon Valley Street 4:12
C4 Make The Bus 3:19
Featuring - Of Montreal
C5 Wondaland 3:37
D1 57821 3:17
Featuring - Deep Cotton
D2 Say You'll Go 5:59
D3 BabopbyeYa 8:47
The ArchAndroid is the long awaited debut album follow-up to singer-songwriter Janelle MonŠe`s 2007 debut EP, Metropolis Suite I of IV: The Chase. And it was worth the wait. The music is more complex, the production is fuller, the theatrics even bigger. In short, it is one hell of a debut album.
Janelle MonŠe has come up with a robotic alter ego named Cyndi Mayweather, and the Metropolis Suites are her story through an oppressive world in which she discovers she is a Messiah-like figure in hopes to free her people. Her EP first introduced the character with Suite I and her plight, and ArchAndroid is the more personal continuation with Suites II and III. I just hope we won't have to wait three more years for Suite IV.
To say that ArchAndroid is a good achievement as a debut album is a huge understatement as it is an amazing achievement. Written on paper, this LP shouldn't work, as it just sounds way too ambitious. From the conceptual plot to the multitude of genres (psychobilly, glam, hip-hop, jazz, funk, afro-beat, and film music to name a few) to the numerous big named guest artists, it feels like a mess and just too big for one person, but if her EP proved anything it proved one thing, she IS that ambitious and has the guts to attempt it. And she doesn't just succeed, she excels.
The album opens up with a sweeping, energetic orchestral overture then immediately moves on to the next three songs played without break.
And with only the first 4 songs (and just as many genres), you know you are in for a ride like no other.
The ArchAndroid just grips you and never eases up giving you time to breath, it just keeps moving forward. With songs like Come Alive, Tightrope, and Cold War, Suite II is very in your face compared to Suite III.
Suite III starts with another overture then it mellows out with a quick burst of energy on Make The Bus featuring Of Montreal (arguably the weakest track on the album) and ends a couple of songs later with the 9 minute multi-sectioned song BaBopByeYa, one of the best songs on the album. And with all the sonic imagery MonŠe puts into the album, it is easy to imagine just what is going on (Broadway, anyone?).
And a quick word about Janelle MonŠe: she is one incredibly talented woman. Concept albums aren't new, but the breadth to which she reaches is amazing (almost 70 minutes of music), and to pull it off is mind-boggling. Also, the amount of different genres she is able to take on and make sound effortless is staggering. Her voice is definitely the highlight of the album, its almost magical in how she can manipulate it to get it to do whatever she wants. I expect great things from MonŠe in the coming years, and if this album is any indication of what's to come, I can't wait.
The ArchAndroid isn't just one of the best Pop albums released in awhile, it is one of the best albums released in quite some time. With the combination of Janelle MonŠe's vocal prowess and the amazing music and production, you will be hard pressed to find a better pop album debut.
Janelle Monae - Tightrope
live at Glastonbury 2011
Why isnt more popular than she is?? Way more talented than rihanna and everyone else topping the charts today. Seriously
Janelle Monae - Tightrope
Janelle MonŠe - Metropolis
Janelle Monae is an amazing communicator.
Janelle Monae - Sir Greendown - (The Arch Android 2010)
Janelle Monae Come Alive (The War of The Roses) Glastonbury 2011