Record #236: Janelle Monae – The Archandroid (2010)

the archandroid

Janelle Monae is a chameleon of the finest form. She has been leveled comparisons to James Brown, Prince, David Bowie, and Jack White, and trekking through the monolithic The Archandroid, each one of them stands up to scrutiny.

Monae sets her feet firmly in funk and soul and gropes wildly in all directions grabbing a bit of hip hop, a bit of garage rock, a bit of disco, a bit of MPB, all dashed with a healthy dose of afro-futurism.

And the most telling of Monae’s talents is that such a disparate sounding record not only works, but excels, even with such a goofy premise behind it. Because let’s be honest: a genre-spanning concept album about a robot who is also the Messiah who falls in love with her maker in a city where dancing and love are outlawed should be ridiculous to the point of being unlistenable. But it’s actually one of the best records to come out of the last ten years.

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