7
Jun
2010

Janelle Monáe – The ArchAndroid (Suites II and III) (Album Review)

Submitted by / 10 years ago / Album Reviews

Ambition is instrumental (if you’ll excuse the pun, and even if you won’t I’m still right) for any artist’s success but this album demonstrates the bucket-loads of ambition possessed by Janelle Monáe, an all-round entertainer hailing from the United States. Signed to P Diddy’s Bad Boy Records, this ambition has already seen her receive critical acclaim but commercially, she is yet to make a splash either side of the pond. In fact, over-ambition may be the reason for this. The ArchAndroid (Suites II and III), is an adventurous, bold offering which is sure to alienate many whilst hitting home like nothing before with some – a compromise I’m confident the lady herself would accept.

That a twenty-four year old has created an album comprised of eighteen tracks, lasting nearly 70 minutes, epitomises the musical fearlessness of the talented singer songwriter. Whilst this is a brave move it is also a well thought-out one. How else could the versatile Monáe demonstrate her smooth rhymes (Dance or Die), her energy (Tightrope) and her laid back soulful vocals (Sir Greendown) amongst other skills?

With so much individual talent on show, the danger for Monáe is that she will be labeled inconsistent and lacking continuity but despite the contrasting sounds there is a fluidity to the album, albeit a rather unconventional one. Powerful vocals are interwoven amongst light, innocent, airy instrumentals and the bounds between genres are accomplished with grace.

There are some odd interludes in between some rasping tracks (Neon Gumbo exemplifying this best) and the more up-tempo the track, the more I rate the sounds but at such a tender age, and attempting such an audacious album, some missteps are to be expected and even welcomed if it means Monáe will continue to challenge commercial one-dimensionalism. P Diddy rates this girl highly and whilst that probably won’t be enough for the musical snob in you, her music should be.

01. Overture II (02.31)
02. Dance or Die feat. Saul Williams (03.12) *
03. Faster (03.19) *
04. Locked Inside (04.16)
05. Sir Greendown (02.14)
06. Cold War (03.23) *
07. Tightrope feat. Big Boi (04.22)
08. Neon Gumbo (01.37)
09. Oh, Maker (03.46)
10. Come Alive (War of the Roses) (03.22)
11. Mushrooms & Roses (05.42)
12. Overture III (01.41)
13. Neon Valley Street (04.11)
14. Make the Bus feat. of Montreal (03.19)
15. Wondaland (03.36)
16. 57821 feat. Deep Cotton (03.16)
17. Say You’ll Go (06.01)
18. BabopbyeYa (08.47)

—————–

Janelle Monáe – Dance or Die feat. Saul Williams

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Janelle Monáe – Faster

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Janelle Monáe – Cold War

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.