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Janelle Monae's Sci-Fi Genre-Blending Album About Android-Human Love and Government Opression

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posted on Sep, 15 2012 @ 10:57 PM
Tonight I listened to two albums (well, an EP and an album) by Janelle Monae: Metropolis: Suite I (The Chase) and ArchAndroid. I was fairly well blown away. ArchAndroid got a bunch of critical acclaim when it came out in 2010, but I'm positive that most people haven't heard it. And since they're not just great and interesting albums, but have elements the ATS crowd might be interested in, I figured I'd share.

Both are high concept albums following the story on an android named Cindi Mayweather. She falls in love with a man and the government orders her to be destroyed. Over the course of the albums she begins fomenting the idea of a robot rebellion. You can tell Monae is a big fan of the classic German movie "Metropolis," what with the robot story and the city in the story being named after the movie. You can also catch reference to Philip K. Dick and other sci-fi staples.

It's hard to pin down the genre of these albums. Here's the genres wikipedia lists: pop, funk, neo-soul, art rock, dance-punk. You'll also get a little bit of classical music, some rapping and a ballad that would be right at home in a medieval epic. Janelle Monae is what Lady GaGa wishes she could be. This is super-ambitious pop music that's not content to just be one thing. The only thing I have in my memory that I can compare ArchAndroid to is The Clash's Sandinista, just in regard to how many different genres are represented and how ballsy it is to make a record that could be so alienating to the mainstream.

Here's a bunch of tracks:

This spoken word intro from "Metropolis: Suite I (The Chase)" just sets up the whole scenario:

Which leads to these two poppy songs which flow into each other so well they might as well be one:

Here's one of the biggest tracks off ArchAndroid:

Here's a rockier one, a little stranger, Cindi Mayweather seems to be having some mental problems:

A soul/RnB-ish track, Cindi pines for the man she loves:

Very pretty song, Cindi and her lover are re-united:

A slinky, jazzy final track that keeps changing:

That's just a few tracks from the two albums. There's a lot of great music left on there. Hopefully, someone else enjoys this as much as I do.
edit on 9/16/2012 by SaulGoodman because: (no reason given)


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