Metropolis: The Chase Suite [Special Edition]

Metropolis: The Chase Suite [Special Edition]

4.4 5
by Janelle Monáe
     
 

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Janelle Monáe's uniqueness was not apparent from the beginning, as heard on Big Boi's second Got Purp compilation. The neo-electro remake of DeBarge's "Time Will Reveal" and the Off the Wall-emulating pop-funk of "Lettin' Go" were standouts -- even amidst nuggets like Konkrete's See more details below

Overview

Janelle Monáe's uniqueness was not apparent from the beginning, as heard on Big Boi's second Got Purp compilation. The neo-electro remake of DeBarge's "Time Will Reveal" and the Off the Wall-emulating pop-funk of "Lettin' Go" were standouts -- even amidst nuggets like Konkrete's "Shit Ya Drawers," believe it or not -- but Monáe seemed destined to be one of those artists who appears on a glorified mixtape and either disappears or makes one under-promoted album prior to fleeing the industry. Even after spotlights on OutKast's Idlewild, it could not have been known to many outside Monáe's Atlanta circle that she was much more in line with Nona Hendryx and Afrofuturism than Ciara and 106 & Park. She probably has more time for Octavia Butler than Perez Hilton. Inspired by Fritz Lang's 1927 science fiction classic, Metropolis, Suite 1: The Chase is the first of four planned releases designed as easily processible EPs detailing the life of a rebellious soul-equipped android who risks disassembly by falling in love with a human. Strip away the concept, the packaging, and the equally entertaining and deep lyrics dealing in class
ace, slavery, isolation, and love -- all of that material, as crucial as it is to the whole -- and there remains a handful of magnetic songs transferred through theatrical soul, 21st century new wave, ice-coated opera, and brassy hip-hop funk. The disc's center is made of "Violet Stars Happy Hunting!!!" and "Many Moons," conjoined songs that trump anything on the André 3000 half of OutKast's Speakerboxxx/The Love Below. "Sincerely, Jane" is dressed up in all the fantastical instrumentation of an otherworldly Broadway production but is as grounded in grim realism as Marvin Gaye's "Inner City Blues" or 2Pac's "Brenda's Got a Baby," and like those two songs, it is fueled by despair rather than self-righteousness. Monáe's voice is knockout level throughout, likely versatile enough to handle any style with effortlessly expressive ease. [The "Special Edition," released by Bad Boy nearly a year after the original independent version, adds two bonus tracks. "Mr. President," a protest song, has a relaxed Hi Records throwback arrangement and a neo-Ernie Isley guitar flame-out; "Smile" is a skeletal, gently uplifting ballad.]

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Editorial Reviews

Vibe
Monae's Metropolis is poised to bring an eclectic, urbane feel to today's R&B.
Billboard
On her debut album, a dizzying amalgamation of hip-hop, rock, soul, funk, R&B and electro, she proves her sound is just as eccentric as her garb.
Interview
A soulful, sassy, sci-fi themed debut that busts genres -- not to mention stereotypes.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/12/2008
Label:
Bad Boy
UPC:
0075678993282
catalogNumber:
511234
Rank:
19908

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Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Janelle Monáe   Primary Artist,Hammond Organ,Vocals,Background Vocals,cowbell,Soloist,Voiceover,Wails
Terrence Brown   Piano,Strings
Cutmaster Swift   Turntables
Chuck Lightning   Vocals
Nate "Rocket" Wonder   Vocals
Control_z   Organ,Guitar,Percussion,Drums,Harpsichord,Vocals,Human Whistle,Moog Synthesizer,Mellotron,fender rhodes,Tubular Bells,Hammond B3
Kellis Jr. Parker   Guitar,Soloist
Jaspects Horn Section   Trumpet,Horn,Alto Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Wondaland String Ensemble   Strings,Violin,Cello,Viola
Skunks   Vocals
Wondaland Woodwinds   Clarinet,Trombone,Tuba,French Horn,Oboe
Droid Control   Snare Drums

Technical Credits

Charlie Chaplin   Composer
Bernie Grundman   Mastering
Sean "Puffy" Combs   Executive Producer
Terrence Brown   Programming
Janelle Monáe   Composer,Producer,Executive Producer,Concept,Audio Production,Creation
Chuck Lightning   Composer,Producer,Concept,Story,Audio Production,Creation
Nate "Rocket" Wonder   Arranger,Composer,Producer,Horn Arrangements,Concept,Audio Production,Creation
Ben Rose   Concept,Creation
Wolfmaster Z   Composer
Wolfmaster Lightning   Composer
Delvin Stanklin   Concept,Creation
Chris Stanford   Concept,Creation
George "Rico" Rodriguez   Concept,Creation
Donna Permell   Concept,Creation
Antwan "Big Boi" Patton   Executive Producer
Kellis Jr. Parker   Arranger,Composer
Kellindo Parker   Concept,Creation
Emily "Widget" Parker   Concept,Creation
Mitchell A. "MitchOW!ski" Martian   Mastering,Concept,Creation
Provi Fulp   Concept,Creation
Geoffrey Parsons   Composer

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