Essential Listening

Perhaps one of the most interesting artists I’ve seen in a long time, if not generally, Janelle Monae will finally be releasing her first full-length album tomorrow. A follow on from her fantastic EP, ‘The Chase Suite’, ‘The ArchAndroid’ is essentially two suites stitched together, hopefully furthering the coherence she’s already shown. Monae has an integrity and infectious quirkiness that she is rather boldly unwilling to cede in order to gain popular recognition.

The concept continues to tell the story of Cindy Merryweather, an android in the futuristic city of Metropolis who is hunted down simply for falling in love with a human, yet despite the perhaps lofty aspirations, from the limited listens I’ve had to the album itself (having heard ‘Tightrope’, ‘Cold War’ and ‘Make the Bus’), she has an inherent ability to infuse different genres and styles without masking the message of the lyrics or similarly letting them drown out the rhythm.

Punk, R&B, Hip-Hop, Pop, Rock, Reggae, nothing is out of bounds and all flow into one another with an ease that is undeniably original in its swagger and intelligence, without ever boarding on cocky or too high-brow. Eccentric yet entirely comfortable and forward-thinking.

Buy it. And while you’re at it, get ‘The Chase Suite’ too, because more of these artists need to be encouraged.

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