Janelle Monae - The ArchAndroid
(Bad Boy / Atlantic)
The shoes, the cape, the quiff, the tuxedo; the vintage moves, the flow, the vocals; the mega-conceptual sci-fi pop: Janelle Monae has got the lot. The hype around the 24-year-old singer-songwriter is ardent, expectant, and justified.
Signed by P Diddy, produced by Outkast’s Big Boi, Monae is already a Grammy recipient who’s been artistically aligned with Kelis, Prince and Lauryn Hill (though you might throw James Brown, Sun Ra or Vanessa Williams into that mix).
Monae’s debut UK long-player is as vivid as her back-story might suggest: all cinematic hip-hop, psychedelic funk and futuristic soul. It’s ambitious, overblown, and wonderful.