Janelle Monáe

The ArchAndroid

(Atlantic)

4 star rating

Janelle Monáe’s debut is a virtuosic exercise in Afrofuturism, its sci-fi imagery and wildly imaginative music following in the footsteps of George Clinton, Jimi Hendrix and her sometime patrons OutKast.

It’s the year 2719 and Monáe’s alter ego Cindi Mayweather is an android in Metropolis (the inspiration is Fritz Lang’s classic silent film). Cue a rapid-tour through space-funk, upbeat R&B and psychedelic soul and rock, all swept along by a manically bustling beat and the Kansas City-born singer’s dynamic vocals, from Space Oddity-era Bowie on “Make the Bus” to nimble rapping on “Dance or Die”.

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