Janelle Monae - The ArchAndroid
US singer songwriter Janelle Monae released her first mainstream solo release Metropolis – Suite One (The Chase) Stateside in 2007, following up the mini album in 2010 with The ArchAndroid, a collection featuring the second and third parts of the Metropolis suite. The album gives the UK it’s first opportunity to savour Janelle’s music and there’s plenty on offer to enjoy as the innovative singer delivers a futuristic album offering fresh takes on Hip Hop and Electro Pop while drawing on old soul roots.
Janelle first appeared on our radar via her links with Hip-Hop duo Outkast and readers new to her talents could take the pair’s output as a musical starting point. Janelle is a tremendous live act, delivering performances that showcase her outstanding vocals and dance chops as she spins, slides and shuffles her way through her set like a modern day James Brown. Her recent appearance on David Letterman’s show in the US created a huge online buzz, with viewers in awe of Miss Monae’s talents! Janelle is the only artiste I’ve seen live in recent times that actually has real star quality, and something that is still very evident in her recorded work.
The ArchAndroid manages to encompass a lot of genres but there’s nothing on the release that seems forced. Some of the stand out tracks on the album include the funky current single 'Tightrope', a song that stands alongside the hard hitting rockier 'Cold war' and 'Sir Greendown'; the latter is a track whose dreamy melody is reminiscent of an earlier age, coming across slightly as a distant relative of Shelley Fabares 'Johnny Angel'. The Punkabilly tinged 'Come Alive (The War of the Roses)' is another gem, with the softer but gorgeous 'Oh Maker' also impressing.
“Suite Two” is, arguably, a stronger and more instantly appealing selection of music than “Suite Three”. There are some decent moments on the third suite but nothing that instantly grabs with the exception of 'Wonderland'. It also contains TMF's least favourite track on the album in the shape of 'Make The Bus' a song featuring Of Montreal. Both suites still contain enough in the form of interesting and inspirational music to keep the collection near the top of our album pile. Will The ArchAndroid make it into our best of 2010 lists? The omens are good.