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The ArchAndroid

The ArchAndroid

May 17, 2010
4.6 out of 5 stars 216 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Original Release Date: May 17, 2010
  • Release Date: December 23, 2010
  • Label: Bad Boy/Wondaland
  • Record Company Required Metadata: Music file metadata contains unique purchase identifier. Learn more.
  • Total Length: 1:08:34
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B003L0V758
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 216 customer reviews
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,015 Paid in Albums (See Top 100 Paid in Albums)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Daniel White on May 18, 2010
Format: Audio CD
The ArchAndroid is the long awaited debut album follow-up to singer-songwriter Janelle Monáe`s 2007 debut EP, Metropolis Suite I of IV: The Chase. And it was worth the wait. The music is more complex, the production is fuller, the theatrics even bigger. In short, it is one hell of a debut album.

Janelle Monáe has come up with a robotic alter ego named Cyndi Mayweather, and the Metropolis Suites are her story through an oppressive world in which she discovers she is a Messiah-like figure in hopes to free her people. Her EP first introduced the character with Suite I and her plight, and ArchAndroid is the more personal continuation with Suites II and III. I just hope we won't have to wait three more years for Suite IV.

To say that ArchAndroid is a good achievement as a debut album is a huge understatement as it is an amazing achievement. Written on paper, this CD shouldn't work, as it just sounds way too ambitious. From the conceptual plot to the multitude of genres (psychobilly, glam, hip-hop, jazz, funk, afro-beat, and film music to name a few) to the numerous big named guest artists, it feels like a mess and just too big for one person, but if her EP proved anything it proved one thing, she IS that ambitious and has the guts to attempt it. And she doesn't just succeed, she excels.

The album opens up with a sweeping, energetic orchestral overture then immediately moves on to the next three songs played without break. And with only the first 4 songs (and just as many genres), you know you are in for a ride like no other. The ArchAndroid just grips you and never eases up giving you time to breath, it just keeps moving forward. With songs like Come Alive, Tightrope, and Cold War, Suite II is very in your face compared to Suite III.
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Format: Audio CD
Surely no human could possibly create such amazing genre-hopping music as this, it could only be an android. And so it is we find Janelle Monáe inspired by 1927 sci-fi movie "Metropolis" creates a cyber soul persona Cindy Mayweather and the result is "ArchAndroid...", a strong contender for album of the year.

The lyrics touch on love, war, and slavery, while the sounds range from Classical; the dramatic suite overtures, Indie; "Come alive (The war of the roses)", trippy Rock; the psychedelic Hendrix-channeling "Mushrooms & roses" with distorted vocodered vocals, Pop; the bouncy Motown-esque "Faster", "Cold war" (on which she sounds like Beyoncé, but without the over-reaching she is prone to), and retro Soul; "Locked inside", the Stevie Wonder-esque "Oh, Maker", the lush Lauryn Hill-esque "Neon valley street" with a lovely guitar solo, while "Neon gumbo" is the sound of a song playing backwards.

"Dance or die" features Saul Williams and a spitfire delivery from Monáe, groovy baseline, and an Afro beat feel. Lead-off single "Tightrope" is retro Funk featuring Outkast's Big Boi and "the funkiest horn section in Metropolis", sounding like something from Outkast's "Idlewild" album (on which she appeared). Punk Rock group Of Montreal feature on the quirky alt Pop "Make the bus", "Wondaland" is midtempo and incredibly catchy, while the dreamy acoustic ballad "57821" features Deep Cotton and sounds folky and hymnal, like The Fleet Foxes.

The woozy "Sir Greendown"is an enchanting ballad, the breezy ballad "Say you'll go" reminds me of Stevie Wonder's "Rocket love" in places, while closing is the lush Jazzy "BaBooByeYa" which meanders through different movements, a mini opera sounding like something Shirley Bassey would do.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This release is hot, pure and simple. It puts me in the mind of hearing Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On" album the first time when I was a freshman in college. The songs truly felt like a suite and flowed smack into each other (Erykah Badu's "Mama's Gun" and Jill Scott's live album are the few in recent memory that hit me like this). The arrangements in Archandroid are like an audible collision between Stevie Wonder, James Bond, a tinge of Earth Wind and Fire and Quincy Jones circa Michael Jackson "Off the Wall," approaching Curtis Mayfield, and some Bjork (yes, you are America's answer to the majestic Bjork, Swing Out Sister and Janet Jackson). Add in a little otherworldly that puts you in the mood of a movie soundtrack and we're about there.Yes, I danced in the mirror of my apartment to "Tightrope," - they try to take your dreams/but you can't a allow it...whether you're high or low/you got to tip on the tightrope...this ain't no acrobatics/you either follow or you lead...you gotta keep your balance or you fall into the gap - her first release and hardly got the James Brown footwork Janelle and her crew does so wonderfully in her video. My cat was entertained at my even trying.

What you want to really listen to is Suite II Overture, cut 1, and cut 4, Locked Inside (which has the drumming transition you hear at the beginning of MJ's "Rock with You". There are few things being dropped these days that surprise. Archandroid is among them. After the Overture, dig into "Dance or Die," which again puts me in the mind of the Jackson family, namely Janet, as this song sounds eerily similar to "I Bet You Think This Song is About You." Janelle's power is in her daring to take risks.
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