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Janelle Monae: The ArchAndroid

For SoJones this week we couldn’t help but notice the noise in the music world that Janelle Monae (AKA Cindi Mayweather) is making with her newest album, “The ArchAndroid”, parts two & three of her four album series.

Her ambition succeeds here as she lays out before the listener her blueprint of metropolis. What  should also be credited are the many instruments played on this album plus some help from friends of band Of Montreal; we got ourselves a motion picture waiting to happen!

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What, you thought Janelle only dressed like a funky robot?

My point is, this is the album to usher this generation’s version of  “the future” to. This is one of their many students of music, with enough soul in that leg to make James Brown shed a tear and the essentials in lyrics to make the album mesh. With obvious credits to the futuristic film Metropolis, Janelle takes it and makes it her own masterpiece.

Monae has an ear for detail like a classical music composer, and timing is a clear element in how this album progresses. However she’s not at all over the place even though she’s tip-toeing in and out of genres like she’s walkin’ that “Tightrope”.

While I’m more of the disco-pop & soul parts of the album (mostly found in the beginning and middle parts of the record) more than the orchestral interludes and suites, I (as well as you will) get what Janelle Monae has accomplished.

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The ArchAndroid: in stores now

SoJones can swear 2010 is the year for album of the year, with candidates coming left and right! Something tells me that Janelle Monae is gonna be a much requested name in the industry to work with now that this album is out. Andre 3000, please come back and do an album with her?!

Watch Monae perform to much accolades on David Letterman here. Some songs on here that caught my fancy are-

“Dance or Die” featuring Saul Williams – 3:12

Anytime you make afro-beat disco with one of the best slam poets in the nation, you better kill it, and Janelle Monae gets her Outkast-inspired super fast flow from the spirit of an older time in hip hop. How about we call this Droid-hop?

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The future is here, and it wears a tux and some attitude!

“Tightrope” featuring Big Boi – 4:22

An almost 5 minute jolt of feet tipping fun. Janelle performed Tightrope on BET earlier this year. Should have been Good Morning America; more people need to hear this!

“Neon Valley Street”

To me this sounds like a nod to the 90’s hip hop flava jazz-hop greats Digable Planets used to lace us with.

“Wondaland”

This song is a trip, bringing spaceship funk into the equation that even older bands like Funkadelic have to tip their hats off to. This one stood out to me for some reason!

“57821” featuring Deep Cotton

I’m pretty sure I’m hearing things, but this piece in one part sounds like Monae is channeling Simon and Garfunkel’s “Scarborough Fair”.

Critic Brentin Mock stated Monae is one of the first black artists right now to push pop music forward, and every time I see her that’s what I feel as well, as I’m sure this album will keep you coming back for more each listen. SoJones gives the “ArchAndroid” 4 1/2 out of 5 stars. Get your copy today!

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Andre Sanchez

Andre Sanchez

Andre Sanchez

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