Janelle Monae
The ArchAndroid


5.0
classic

Review

by Sam Feldman's Rating USER (66 Reviews)
June 6th, 2010 | 18 replies | 6,006 views


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Original, catchy, honest, and couragous, Janelle Monae's full length debut is a masterpiece of modern music that quite frankly makes most pop today seem timid and shallow.

5 of 5 thought this review was well written

Upon first hearing about Janelle Monae and her soulful, virtuosic voice I did not expect to like The ArchAndroid at all; in fact, if you were to show me a list of the current Best New Music on Sputnik I would have deemed The ArchAndroid one of the lesser albums prior to listening. Not only is pop and R&B not really my forte, a concept album about a futuristic android involving a mesh of genres and a buttload of ambition seemed a recipe for disaster.

My, oh my, was I wrong. Janelle Monae's debut tour-de-force is absolutely jaw-dropping; from the cinematic, orchestrated opening overture to the depths of love and space and back, Monae croons and dolefully belts out fantastic lyrics over a pallet of musical adventures. It is almost too much to take at times, yet The ArchAndroid never flies off the handlebars: instead, it utilizes Monae's powerful pipes by never letting the music get in the way of her ambition. It is quite the complement.

It has been a while since an album came along with such daring honesty, such confidence in that whatever wacky idea Monae has up her sleeve it will more or less work. The finale of the longer and overall better Suite II, "Mushrooms & Roses" depicts this perfectly; a late Beatles-era psychadelic prog-fest that Monae knows exactly what to do with. While many of today's contemporary pop artists are much too worried about their new hairstyle or album sales, Monae shows great understanding of music and how being creative is worth a lot more than materialistic ideals. The ArchAndroid feels like one of the first pop albums in years to not be afraid of shooting for the stars.

Although it's quite apparent who and where she gets her influence and inspiration from, Monae creates quite unfamiliar songs while still keeping intact the previous artists' work that have launched her. "Sir Greendown", with its medieval tones and heartfelt lyrics (lines like "let's leave in an hour, meet me at the tower, I'm in love" ooze passion) feels simultaneously done before and completely original and the result is staggering. "Say You'll Go" recalls Stevie Wonder's golden days with a heartbreaking, futuristic piece that could very well find its way up my Song of The Year ladder. Another remarkable effect of The ArchAndroid is how many of the songs have an ethereal part or feel to them, like the "oo oo oo oo's" after the intial explosion of "Come Alive", or most of "Oh, Maker", that somehow make an album as ambitious and out there as this feel down to earth and personal. I almost see myself sitting in a church late Christmas Eve listening to many of these songs.

As with many instant classics in music, The ArchAndroid dazzles on first listen and stays in your mind for days on end. Original, catchy, honest, and couragous, Janelle Monae's full length debut is a masterpiece of modern music that quite frankly makes most pop today seem timid and shallow. The ArchAndroid easily finds it place among the best albums of the year and certainly one of the best pop albums in recent time. Janelle Monae should be a force to reckon with for some years ahead.



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user ratings (559)
Chart.
4.2
excellent
other reviews of this album
natey (3)
Janelle Monae likes robots....

Alex Robertson STAFF (4.5)
...

Peter Tabakis (5)
A masterpiece from the 28th century....

Nick Butler EMERITUS (4.5)
Everything her fans had been hoping for, and then some....

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Comments:Add a Comment 
Electric City
Staff Reviewer
June 6th 2010



15727 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

probably shouldnt make a crack at popstars' hairstyles when talking about janelle monae

Digging: Joyce Manor - Never Hungover Again

Enotron
June 6th 2010



7695 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

cool review, have a pos

DiceMan
June 6th 2010



7068 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Record is omggood.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
June 6th 2010



15727 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

WAT KIND OF SANDWICHES???

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
June 6th 2010



7314 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This isn't really my thing, but it's one of those records where I can tell it's amazing for what it is.

Tightrope and Come Alive were phenomenal.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
June 6th 2010



7315 Comments

Album Rating: 4.4

This isn't supposedly my thing either. Her Chase EP is arguably even better than this. Cool review.

Digging: Dog Fashion Disco - Sweet Nothings

WatchItExplode
June 6th 2010



3204 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

still listening to this daily...

RobotFrank
June 6th 2010



344 Comments


haven't heard this yet but i'm pretty psyched about it, this review reinforces that.. nice work, +1

AtavanHalen
June 7th 2010



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

WE CALL THAT CLASSY BRASS

Inveigh
July 8th 2010



24800 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

can't stop listening... had to bump rating... good review.....

yeah, this is my fifth 4.5 of the year. still haven't found anything I think's 5-worthy yet. We've still got Radiohead and (pretty please) Mac Lethal though..

Inveigh
July 8th 2010



24800 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

es posible

he already released a mixtape (Blood in the Water) that was pretty gravy, but I'm thinking Irish Goodbyes will be out by the end of the year. He's been playing songs off it live (he did two when I saw him two weeks ago, they were pretty dope) and he's been working on it for awhile I think.

and yeah, this album is the business. It's got a bit of a Gnarls Barkley vibe to it, but it's deeper, and better.

Inveigh
July 8th 2010



24800 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

too close to call for me. it's a toss up between this, Deftones, DTS, Rosetta and The National right now and it changes pretty much each time I listen to each. I guess right now I'd lean towards High Violet or Diamond Eyes.

Inveigh
July 8th 2010



24800 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

funny you say that, I just d/led it and put it on my iPod not 5 minutes ago, along with Foreign Tapes by Parades.

Inveigh
July 8th 2010



24800 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'm gonna do dat right now doe

RobotFrank
July 9th 2010



344 Comments


sounds like ambition put to music. a tough quality to capture.

Inveigh
July 9th 2010



24800 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

damn I was already into mine by the time you posted that chambered haha

I mean, obviously you shouldda gone with some hip hop, I'd say new Big Boi or Roots. but in actuality I would've just rec'd you listen to Blood in the Water by Mac Leezy

undertakerpt
August 31st 2010



1174 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

amazing album, wish i could find her e.p in the shops. great review by the way!

DiceMan
August 31st 2010



7068 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Inveigh talkin' to himself again *sigh*



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