ArchAndroid

The ArchAndroid

5.0 7
by Janelle Monáe
     
 

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Any misgivings about Janelle Monáe's Bad Boy deal are nullified by the briefest contact with this, an extravagant 70-minute album involving more imagination, conceptual detail, and stylistic turnabouts than most gatefold prog rock epics. Credit Bad Boy's Diddy for allowing Monáe to fully explore the singularity on display through Metropolis,

Overview

Any misgivings about Janelle Monáe's Bad Boy deal are nullified by the briefest contact with this, an extravagant 70-minute album involving more imagination, conceptual detail, and stylistic turnabouts than most gatefold prog rock epics. Credit Bad Boy's Diddy for allowing Monáe to fully explore the singularity on display through Metropolis, Suite I: The Chase, and work with her Wondaland crew on a bigger budget. The ArchAndroid not only picks up where The Chase let off, but contains both the second and third Metropolis suites in one shot with no discernible "let's make some hits now" intervention. The packaging alone -- the elaborate crown, the inspiration listed beside each song, etc. -- provides much to process. Liner notes from the vice-chancellor of the arts asylum at the Palace of the Dogs, Monáe's residence, outline the (possible) situation fleshed out in the songs. In short, Monáe was genoraped in the 28th century, sent back to the 21st century, and had her organic compounds cloned and re-purposed for the existence of ArchAndroid Cindi Mayweather, whose directive is to liberate Metropolis from a secret society of oppressors. Understanding all this stuff enhances the enjoyment of the album, but it is not required. A few tracks merely push the album along, and a gaudy Of Montreal collaboration is disruptive, but there are numerous highlights that are vastly dissimilar from one another. "Tightrope," the biggest standout, is funky soul, all locomotive percussion and lyrical prancing to match: "I tip on alligators, and little rattlesnakers/But I'm another flavor, something like a Terminator." Just beneath that is the burbling synth pop of "Wondaland," as playful and rhythmically juicy as Tom Tom Club ("So inspired, you touch my wires"); the haunted space-folk of "57821" (titled after Monáe's patient number); and the conjoined "Faster" and "Locked Inside," packing bristling energy with a new-wave bounce that morphs into a churning type of desperation worthy of Michael Jackson. Monáe might not have much appeal beyond musical theater geeks, sci-fi nerds, and those who like their genres crossed-up, but no one can deny that very few are on her creative level. She can sing, sang, and scream like hell, too.

Product Details

Release Date:
05/18/2010
Label:
Bad Boy
UPC:
0075678989834
catalogNumber:
512256
Rank:
36305

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Janelle Monáe   Primary Artist,Vocals,Background Vocals
Kevin Barnes   Synthesizer,Drums,Bass Guitar,Keyboards,Vocals,Background Vocals
Terrence Brown   Organ,Piano
Big Boi   Background Vocals
Saul Williams   Vocals
Hornz Unlimited   Horn
Chuck Lightning   Background Vocals
Wondaland String Ensemble   Strings
Nate "Rocket" Wonder   Organ,Acoustic Guitar,Bass,Percussion,Conductor,Drums,Bass Guitar,Electric Guitar,Keyboards,Vocals,Background Vocals,Mellotron,Vibes,Hammond B3
Skinks   Background Vocals
Wolfmaster Z   Drums,Bass Guitar,Rhythm Guitar,Theremin,Tubular Bells,Bass Marimba
Kellindo Parker   Guitar,Ukulele,Soloist
Alex Page   Violin,Viola
Skunks   Background Vocals
Deep Cotton   Background Vocals
Kelly Sparker   Brass
Kelindo Parker   Guitar,Rhythm Guitar,Soloist
Grace Shim   Cello
Felicia Long   Flute
Eánom Ellenaj   Vocals
DJ Cutmaster Swiff   scratching
Dashill "Sunnovah" Smith   Trumpet,Soloist
Alexander Page   Violin,Viola
Young Pete Alexander   Drums
Thesaurus Rex   Harp
Wondaland ArchOrchestra   Strings
Neon Valley Street Chancel Choir   Background Vocals
Neon Valley St. Anthony   Background Vocals
Tang Nivri   Percussion
Sknuks Eht   Vocals
Rekrap Odnillek   Guitar
Nworb Ecnerret   Piano
Nathan Yelurvin   Percussion,Glockenspiel,Harp,Mellotron,Woodwind
Monroe Nervine   Dulcimer,Clarinet,Mandolin,Bassoon,Harp,Oboe
Kyle O'Brien   French Horn
Roman Gianarthur   Percussion,Piano,Conductor,Background Vocals

Technical Credits

Richard Rodgers   Composer
Kevin Barnes   Producer,drum programming
Lorenz Hart   Composer
Jerry Freeman   Horn Arrangements
Antwan Patton   Composer
Control Z   Engineer
Saul Williams   Composer
Janelle Monáe   Producer
Jason Freeman   Horn Arrangements
Chuck Lightning   Arranger,Producer
Nate "Rocket" Wonder   Arranger,Producer,Horn Arrangements,String Arrangements
Carolyn Tracey   Package Production
Damien Lewis   Engineer
Kellindo Parker   Arranger
K. Barnes   Composer
Kellis Parker   Composer
Kelindo Parker   Vocal Arrangements
Janelle Monáe Robinson   Arranger,Composer
Gninthgil Kcuc   Composer
Eánom Ellenaj   Composer
Nathaniel Irvin   Arranger,Composer
DJ Cutmaster Swiff   Cut
Charles Joseph   Arranger,Composer
Chad Weatherford   Costume Design
Young Pete Alexander   String Arrangements
Rekrap Sillek   Guitar Arrangements
Rednow "Tekcor" Etan   Arranger,Composer
Max Stellings   Liner Notes
Roman Gianarthur   Arranger,Composer,Producer,Engineer,Vocal Arrangements,String Arrangements

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The ArchAndroid 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Wiccachic2000 More than 1 year ago
This reaches in deep in a viceral sense. It's not just audibly cinematic but picturesque. It is an aesthetic ideal that a lot of other artists could stand to reach for (this is not part of the majority of modern gutter-trash and non-substantives released that degrades humanity through it's shear existence). With that said I look forward to seeing more from Ms Monae.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Janelle Monae is an artist whose unique skill and creativity have been too long unnoticed. The long-awaited ArchAndroid presents the second and third suites of a project that began with Metropolis: The Chase Suite. Metropolis is also the title of a 1928 classic silent film, which tells the tale of a city whose surface is magnificant and wealthy; a mile below the city, however, is an oppressed force of laborers. How does one become free? Monae puts a sci-fi twist to the concept in Metropolis: The Chase Suite, and ArchAndroid carries on Monae's storyline. ArchAndroid is a far-ranging stylistic musical production in which Monae somehow successfully weaves together urban, club, classical, jazz, and even some folk-ish lines. It shouldn't work at all, but it does work, musically and conceptually. Her ideas are fresh and curious. She is a fine-minded and important contemporary artist, a great voice, and an excellent composer. Hats off to Bad Boy for producing a work that defies The Industry's profiteering standards. New listeners should note that ArchAndroid does call up lines from Metropolis: The Chase Suite. It is useful to hear Metropolis but not essential for enjoying ArchAndroid.
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