The music industry is all about labling. In order to fit within its commercial landscape you must fit, or you'll be squeezed, into one of its predetermined genres. Rarely does an artist come along who completely bucks that notion. Needless to say, Janelle Monae is one of those rare artists. With her beautifully controlled voice paired with versatile muscianship the results are amazing. The ArchAndroid, which is made up of two suites, is literally a movie for the ears, with storylines that travel through big band jazz as easily as it does ska punk. At the center of the plot is Cindi Mayweather, her alter ego, an android from the year 2719 who hails from the planet Metropolis.
After listening to this album, I'm convinced that Janelle Monae is the most innovative artist since Lauren Hill's breakthrough in the late '90s. She's a chameleon in the same vein as Prince in his heyday.
Many will say that after listening to this album they still don't know who Janelle Monae is. I think that's the beauty of it - she is music, not limited a formulaic genre.
My favorite cuts:
"Tightrope" featuring Big Boi
"Dance or Die" featuring Saul Williams