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Metropolis: The Chase Suite

Janelle Monáe

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Album Review

Janelle Monáe's uniqueness was not apparent from the beginning, as heard on Big Boi's second Got Purp compilation. The neo-electro remake of DeBarge's "Time Will Reveal" and the Off the Wall-emulating pop-funk of "Lettin' Go" were standouts — even amidst nuggets like Konkrete's "S**t Ya Drawers," believe it or not — but Monáe seemed destined to be one of those artists who appears on a glorified mixtape and either disappears or makes one under-promoted album prior to fleeing the industry. Even after spotlights on OutKast's Idlewild, it could not have been known to many outside Monáe's Atlanta circle that she was much more in line with Nona Hendryx and Afrofuturism than Ciara and 106 & Park. She probably has more time for Octavia Butler than Perez Hilton. Inspired by Fritz Lang's 1927 science fiction classic, Metropolis, Suite 1: The Chase is the first of four planned releases designed as easily processible EPs detailing the life of a rebellious soul-equipped android who risks disassembly by falling in love with a human. Strip away the concept, the packaging, and the equally entertaining and deep lyrics dealing in class/race, slavery, isolation, and love — all of that material, as crucial as it is to the whole — and there remains a handful of magnetic songs transferred through theatrical soul, 21st century new wave, ice-coated opera, and brassy hip-hop funk. The disc's center is made of "Violet Stars Happy Hunting!!!" and "Many Moons," conjoined songs that trump anything on the André 3000 half of OutKast's Speakerboxxx/The Love Below. "Sincerely, Jane" is dressed up in all the fantastical instrumentation of an otherworldly Broadway production but is as grounded in grim realism as Marvin Gaye's "Inner City Blues" or 2Pac's "Brenda's Got a Baby," and like those two songs, it is fueled by despair rather than self-righteousness. Monáe's voice is knockout level throughout, likely versatile enough to handle any style with effortlessly expressive ease. [The "Special Edition," released by Bad Boy nearly a year after the original independent version, adds two bonus tracks. "Mr. President," a protest song, has a relaxed Hi Records throwback arrangement and a neo-Ernie Isley guitar flame-out; "Smile" is a skeletal, gently uplifting ballad.]

Customer Reviews

Absolute Android Genius

Dear Cindi, Your music is out of this world. From the moment I heard your voice at that mundane and melancholy Metrpolis nightclub, I knew our cybersouls would one day be united. To me you're more than Android No. 57821, you're almost...dare I say it...human! I would trade in all my robo-zillions to see you again, but I know that this is bigger than us. This is a movement. The Droid control came to my Metropolis mega-mansion to harass me with questions pertaining to your whereabouts, but don't worry, I told them nothing. Had I known that ten men with guns were at the door from Droid Control I would have never answered. I'd rather drown myself in the murky meadows of Metropolis than let you get disastrously disassembled. I have some imporatant information for you. One, my real name is Finley P not Anthony Greendown and two, the Wolfmasters are getting closer...SO RUN! The Star Commission has probably tapped into my top-notch telecommunicating devices and is recording this message right now, but I don't care. So continue to spread your music throughout the galaxy. And remember, love is more than tin deep. Sincerely, Anthony Greendown/Finley P.

My Favorite Android!!!

I LOVE THIS ALBUM. It's Like a sci-fi movie scored with strings, punk guitars and 808s! It's simply like nothing you've ever heard...it's funk, soul, rock and roll! everything you love mixed into one--with a story and a message to die for! And as a performer Monáe is unbelievable! I've been telling everyone that one day this girl will be a huge star! That day has finally come! By the way, for you die hard JM fans, this special edition of the suite contains two new tracks--"Smile" and "Mr. President." Amazing! Just love her voice and message! Can't wait to hear more!

I LOVE HER!!!

She is an amazing artist! and ive waited so long to buy this EP/LP...I stayed up all nite just to support Janelle Monae on the day of the release of Metropolis: the Chase Suite1. She is ana amazing singer, her voice is out of this world! if you dont agree then your ears must be def lol, she knows how to deliver real music!

Biography

Born: December 1, 1985 in Kansas City, KS

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Growing up, Janelle Monáe (born Janelle Robinson) felt constrained by the limited resources offered to her in her greater Kansas City, Kansas home. When she finished high school, she moved to New York to attend the American Musical and Dramatic Academy with the intention of pursuing musical theater, but in 2004, after performing in a couple of off-Broadway shows and realizing there weren't roles available to her that she wanted, she moved to Atlanta to try her luck there. She soon joined a band and...
Full Bio
Metropolis: The Chase Suite, Janelle Monáe
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