Artist: Janelle Monae’
Album: Metropolis Suites II & III: The ArchAndroid
Style: Soul, Funk, R & B, Rock, Pop, Classical, Alternative
This artist could tour with: Prince, Lady Gaga, Erykah Badu, Radiohead, Lauryn Hill, Outkast, Broadway
Greetings beautiful people
I’ve been blessed by a friend with an advance copy of Janelle Monae’s upcoming album “The ArchAndroid” due for release this Tuesday May 18, 2010. So being an admirer of her music, this is a scary thing because it also means I’m very critical of it. So after listening to the 18 track composition of the next two Metropolis suites, I have to say I’m impressed.
This isn’t just music, but rather a work of art. I dare to say she warrants a McCarthy Fellowship. It’s difficult to review these songs in the context of contemporary pop music, because it’s the soundtrack of some world/time line that doesn’t exist.
The album opens up with Janelle duplicating a Busta Rhymes flow, better than we’ve heard Busta in years on “Dance or Die ft Saul Williams” . The album closes with “BaBopByeya”, an epic 8 plus minute song that combines 1950’s jazz vocals over, symphonic, big band, and tribal arrangements all in the same song. Between these two book ends is enough meat to keep pop music geeks talking for years. Obviously, “Tightrope” is Janelle channeling James Brown and making the entire party slide across the floor with space age swagger. “Come Alive” is a rock song in the vein of the B-52’s. Yet the difference is her vocals are….imagine Whitney Houston in her prime going full-out and singing a punk rock song. Yeah it’s kind of like that. “Neon Valley Street” an ode to unrequited digital love, is a stunning groove, that took me back to mid to late 90’s Organized Noise.
I could go on, but there is too much in the album to analyze. I will say this. In my humble opinion, it’s vocally one of the best pop albums ever created! I will argue that point. Sonically it’s disturbingly cohesive for someone who crosses genres through out one musical statement. As with albums I have my favorites, but this is something I can listen to from beginning to end and not on random. I hope she gets some kind of celebrity from this project. It would be great to see an artist of her caliber smash at the Grammy’s and show the world that, you can make art and at the same time make it funky.
Until next time beautiful people