Thursday, August 12, 2010

Janelle Monáe - The ArchAndroid

Hype may usually be met with resistance and suspicion. Yet, three songs into the much praised The ArchAndroid and you know you’re really in the presence of a great talent.
But first things first: the record presents itself as a double suite where Monáe’s alter-ego, Cindy Mayweather (a fictional protagonist of her previous record) becomes some sort of messiah figure to the android community of Metropolis (a direct reference to the Fritz Lang cult classic).
Ambition is also certainly something that doesn’t lack on this young performer: the musical concept draws inspiration from a series of different sources, ranging from Debussy to vintage Michael Jackson (Locked Inside could easily pass as a track from Jackson’s Off The Wall album). A natural one show-woman, she doesn’t seem to want to lock herself up inside a soul&funk tower, experimenting instead with mixed ambients and a variety of sounds. There are backward tracks, orchestrations, pastoral ambiences, psychedelic rock, cabaret tunes, indie-pop (with the help from Of Montreal on the stand-out Make The Bus) and yes, a whole lot of funk.
Not only she manages to make it all sound coherent and honest (the album flows amazingly well) but she also never compromises quality while jumping from style to style, or, better said, while creating a magnificent one of her own. Now I believe the hype.

Janelle Monáe - Cold War (video)

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