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The ArchAndroid (Deluxe)

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Album Review

Any misgivings about Janelle Monáe's Bad Boy deal are nullified by the briefest contact with this, an extravagant 70-minute album involving more imagination, conceptual detail, and stylistic turnabouts than most gatefold prog rock epics. Credit Bad Boy's Diddy for allowing Monáe to fully explore the singularity on display through Metropolis, Suite I: The Chase, and work with her Wondaland crew on a bigger budget. The ArchAndroid not only picks up where The Chase let off, but contains both the second and third Metropolis suites in one shot with no discernible “let’s make some hits now” intervention. The packaging alone — the elaborate crown, the inspiration listed beside each song, etc. — provides much to process. Liner notes from the vice-chancellor of the arts asylum at the Palace of the Dogs, Monáe’s residence, outline the (possible) situation fleshed out in the songs. In short, Monáe was genoraped in the 28th century, sent back to the 21st century, and had her organic compounds cloned and re-purposed for the existence of ArchAndroid Cindi Mayweather, whose directive is to liberate Metropolis from a secret society of oppressors. Understanding all this stuff enhances the enjoyment of the album, but it is not required. A few tracks merely push the album along, and a gaudy Of Montreal collaboration is disruptive, but there are numerous highlights that are vastly dissimilar from one another. “Tightrope,” the biggest standout, is funky soul, all locomotive percussion and lyrical prancing to match: “I tip on alligators, and little rattlesnakers/But I’m another flavor, something like a Terminator.” Just beneath that is the burbling synth pop of “Wondaland,” as playful and rhythmically juicy as Tom Tom Club (“So inspired, you touch my wires”); the haunted space-folk of “57821” (titled after Monáe’s patient number); and the conjoined “Faster” and “Locked Inside,” packing bristling energy with a new-wave bounce that morphs into a churning type of desperation worthy of Michael Jackson. Monáe might not have much appeal beyond musical theater geeks, sci-fi nerds, and those who like their genres crossed-up, but no one can deny that very few are on her creative level. She can sing, sang, and scream like hell, too.

Customer Reviews

Genuine innovation and accessibility with zero compromise.

If you consider yourself a fan of music, buy this album. If you are losing hope in the world outside your window -- feeling insane as if you are the only individual left under the sun -- buy this album. This album speaks volumes musically, lyrically, instrumentally and spiritually. Monae pleads us to join her in a state of Nirvana on "Say You'll Go", but the thing is the listener already finds themselves there as soon as the album begins. When is the last time you honestly heard an album that sounds more cinematic than the majority of movies currently in theaters? Janelle Monae is an artist. By buying this, you are not only supporting an artist, you are supporting a movement. Great music exists -- so let's make it popular. Start a revolution, because this is a Cold War and hardly anyone knows just what exactly they should be fighting for. There is a subtle oppression -- there is a lack of free thought and individuality. Love is not a fantasy and Janelle Monae conveys this with all her heart. Please, please please support the progression of culture and buy this album.

Lady Gaga is JUST a LADY...

...and she'll never compare to a QUEEN like Janelle. This album is a return to popular music with a soul.

And, to think: She didn't even have to take her clothes off for attention.


Album of the year

Janelle needs to prepare her grammy album of year acceptance speech....this album is the truth!


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
The ArchAndroid (Deluxe), Janelle Monáe
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Customer Ratings