Tuesday, June 8, 2010

First Listen: Janelle Monae, The Archandroid

This record is awesome. Full stop.

Okay, I'll elaborate. Imagine if Prince and Erykah Badu had a kid, and that kid really liked Blade Runner. Monae has been gifted with the voice of an angel and the mind of a sci-fi geek. Her whole recorded output so far (this album and a preceding EP) has been geared toward telling the story of 57821, an android who falls in love, and falls afoul of a futuristic, totalitarian government. The Archandroid is suites two and three (the EP was suite one) of a planned four.

Sounds heady, right? Well, forget it. This record is a boatload of fun. It's beat-crazy, soulful, prodigiously melodic, insanely well-arranged, funky and danceable. This is pop music of the highest order, with no boundaries - can you imagine another record with Big Boi and Of Montreal on the guest list? I can't. The Archandroid is the kind of thing that exposes just how shallow and talentless 99 percent of modern soul-pop is. This record is the real deal.

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