Jun 01

Once in awhile we get a brave, unique artist or two with a different sound break through the clones and deliver music that we either cheer or shun. Typically when it’s shunned, we pick it back up years after and lament our closed-minded disdain at the time and then dare to wonder “where are they now”. When David Bowie dropped Space Oddity, the world paid attention and it sent ripples throughout the music world that futuristic, space-aged sound has its place. Unfortunately there is only one Bowie but people such as Jason Kay of Jamiroquai have bravely taken the baton and continued to keep a groovy space-aged sound pumping…

In the Hip Hop world Del Tha Funkee Homasapien, Kool Keith and Andre 3000 of Outkast have shown that even in the most closed-minded of music forms the space-age has its place. And now new artist (new to some of you) Janelle Monae is bringing her brand of “Afro Punk” to the clone-ridden world of Rhythm and Blues, a sound heard on her earlier EP Metropolis, a CD that has probably been played 100 times over for this guy. Metropolis detailed the life and death of one Cindy Mayweather, Android 57821 who dared to love (illegal for Droids in Metropolis) and is hunted down and killed for it.

The ArchAndroid is the follow-up to Metropolis telling of a world where time travel is possible and an Arch-Android Janelle Monae is sent back in time leaving a superior clone Cindy Mayweather in her stead. The songs while not detailing the story per se like Metropolis are a funky mix of many musical forms. It’s very hard to categorize ArchAndroid and with every listen I have a new favorite, my current being “Wondaland” since it reminds me of a Donna Summer sort of Disco. The album has 18 tracks, starting out with Suite II (tracks 1-11) and ending with Suite III (tracks 12-18).

For new listeners curious about Janelle’s new album I would warn that it’s not going to be the standard R&B even though you will find the CD in that section. The album sounds like the soundtrack to an epic Space Opera (speaking of which, I think it really should be made into one), it is perfect for providing background to your boring workdays or when you have a lengthy trip out of town. I can’t see myself popping in The ArchAndroid for the purpose of dancing but it’s wonderful for the two things I just mentioned. Place it in your iWhatever when you’re at the gym jogging it out on the treadmill or when you are supposed to be listening to a boring lecture on things you already know.

Of the most importance you should not sleep on Janelle just because you aren’t ready for Janelle. Like I mentioned in the first paragraph, people who do sleep on artists such as she will end up late for the show and wondering why people like myself got it when you didn’t. Do yourself a favor and grab The ArchAndroid by Janelle Monae aka Cindy Mayweather aka 57821 the outlaw love droid. Check out the official website at http://www.jmonae.com.

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