Galactic Eclectic – Janelle Monáe

I was listening to Radio 4 on my way back from Bestival last month and there was an interview on their arts programme that really caught my attention. It was with Janelle Monáe, an American recording artist who’s been getting big acclaim for her album ‘The Archandroid’. I was fascinated with the off the wall stuff she had to say – she certainly looks at things from a novel perspective. Apart from being intrigued to hear first-hand what the fuss was all about with her music, which I was informed covered a whole spectrum of styles, I also had an ulterior motive – having learnt that it was a concept album set in a science fiction future, I wondered if there was anything on there that might suit the mix I was about to put together for Beats In Space (see the ‘Hazy Cosmic Jive’ previously posted). So when I got home I ordered myself a copy.

It’s the type of album that will annoy the hell out of some people, whilst others will hail it as a work of genius – when someone states that ‘I can’t decide if it’s a masterpiece or a total mess’ you know you’re in for an aural experience decidedly different to the norm, which this album most certainly delivers.

I say all power to her – hats off to anyone out there breaking the mould, and Janelle Monáe is definitely doing that with bells on. It’s an album that might need a good few plays before it properly clicks with you, but ‘The Archandroid’ is well worth the perseverance, and offers a welcome beacon of light in this era of quick fix throwaway pap.

I enjoyed this review by Anthony Fantano from theneedledrop.com:

Check out a few of her tracks on YouTube:




Janelle Monáe Wikipedia:

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3 Responses to Galactic Eclectic – Janelle Monáe

  1. Nige B October 8, 2010 at 7:36 pm #

    I’m delighted you posted this. I remember hearing – and being impressed by – Tightrope, and then, for whatever reason, I forgot about Janelle Monáe. If the rest of it is as good as that single then I’m in for a treat. I’m off to order it now.

  2. Chas October 14, 2010 at 12:37 pm #

    It’s a sprawling work to be sure, so many different styles, not all of which I’m feeling (notably the more conventionally “urban” tracks) , but it contains several numbers that I think are genuinely stunning. Wondaland, Sir Greendown, Oh, Maker, Neon Valley Street and 57821 (not necessarily in that order) are the best new tracks I’ve heard in many many years. The production and melodies are just brilliant, goose bump time… A record that makes me feel loved up just sitting on the sofa with a cup of tea.
    I’ve been bashing a C90 tape mix I made of those tracks on my old Aiwa PX287 for the last few weeks and evangelising about the album to anyone who’ll listen. So far I’ve purchased two vinyl copies for myself and three CDs (at £6.99 on Amazon it’s a steal, although the vinyl on Amazon is absurdly pricey, don’t buy it there…) for other people.
    We live in a time where everything has to be laid on a plate, to be “inclusive”, the better for people to get their heads around it I suppose, so Ms Monae probably felt compelled to explain herself, hence the inclusion of all the blurb concerning the concept behind the album. But I quite wish she hadn’t because it would have been an even more astounding, otherworldly experience if there was no explanation included and inevitably the “lore” behind the album’s subject matter is nowhere near as compelling as the music itself.
    I suspect that the album is just too accomplished and varied to make the impact it deserves to, alas. But I’m with you all the way. Hats off to her.
    N.B. …I dare say some of it will make its way into the mix at ‘Space Shuffle’, our new monthly event at Shepherds Studios (London W14 0DA), on Friday October 29 if anyone fancies it…

  3. Dan Soulsmith June 27, 2011 at 12:54 pm #

    Hi Greg,

    Did you catch her at Glastonbury? She’s great live too!

    Footage here for a limited time…


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