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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

The ArchAndroid

Janelle Monáe

2010

The ArchAndroid

Album Summary

The ArchAndroid is the debut studio album by American singer and songwriter Janelle Monáe, released on May 18, 2010, by Wondaland Arts Society, Bad Boy Records, and Atlantic Records. Production for the album took place at Wondaland Studios in Atlanta and was primarily handled by Monáe, Nate "Rocket" Wonder, and Chuck Lightning, with only one song without production by Monáe. She also collaborated for certain songs with Saul Williams, Big Boi, of Montreal, and Deep Cotton. The album is composed of the second and third parts to Monáe's Metropolis concept album series. Incorporating conceptual elements of Afrofuturism and science fiction, The ArchAndroid continues the series' fictional tale of a messianic android and features lyrical themes of love, identity, and self-realization. Critical commentaries have compared the album to the works of David Bowie, Outkast, Prince and Michael Jackson. The ArchAndroid debuted at number 17 on the US Billboard 200, selling 21,000 copies in its first week, while charting modestly in several other countries. Monáe promoted the album with the release of two singles – "Tightrope" and "Cold War" – and concert tours in 2010 and 2011. A widespread critical success, The ArchAndroid received praise for its thematic concepts and Monáe's eclectic musical range. It later ranked among 2010's best albums in many critics lists and earned the singer a Grammy Award nomination for Best Contemporary R&B Album.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.57

Votes

4834

Genres

  • Pop
  • Soul
Reviews
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5

What a breath of fresh air. Maybe I should complain about the composition of this list more often. This is the one Janelle Monae album I haven't heard. Our first album from the last decade, and from this century! A concept album based on Metropolis...and it's a debut album. Immediately, I'm struck by how eclectic this is, spanning so many different genres and transitioning between them so effortlessly. This feels monumental. I love so many songs here, and a very special shout-out to "Cold War," which Santoma unknowingly SAMPLED (via Clams Casino) on his/my first ever track "Go to Town." This is just fantastic all the way through. I'm going to retroactively add it to my Top Albums of 2010 list. [Side note: this was nominated for a Grammy but lost to Usher's Raymond v. Raymond. Yet more proof the Grammys are wet garbage.] Janelle, if you're reading this, I just watched Antebellum last night--the movie wasn't good, but you're great. I was already a big fan of you, but this seals the deal. Let's see if Bowie can top this. Favorite songs: Cold War, Dance or Die, Mushrooms & Roses, Neon Valley Street, Come Alive, Faster, Wondaland. Album art: The framing and text and everything is very much a product of the early '10s, but I love the picture of Monae and the golden metropolis as her crown. Talk about a chrome dome. 5/5

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5

This is crazy good. I knew Janelle was talented, but this album really blew me away at how good, cohesive, and yet varied it is. Each song is amazing and there are no duds.

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5

After the Overture, this album starts and just keeps going. Great energy, vocals, big band mixed with some synth/electronic that give a bit of a Wizard of Oz vibe. Really liked this, could see this being an excellent live performance.

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5

Loved it

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5

Top-tier, cohesive album.

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5

Truly, the greatest tragedy here is that this album was generated for me on Friday, and for an entire weekend I was cursed with the knowledge of how amazing this album is; and yet anybody who happened across my stats page would pity me for either never having experienced it, or for not recognizing it as a masterpiece. At last, Monday has come, and my anxiety can finally be dispelled.

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5

Funny coincidence - yesterday was the first time I'd ever heard of Janelle Monae. They had her singing in the street out of one of those US morning TV shows. The TV was on mute so all I could see was Janelle's Michael Jackson ripoff outfit and a bunch of never-been-kissed type girls waving signs in the crowd. I rolled my eyes, assuming she was some kind of X Factor singer or some other yank shit. Then today, THIS is the album. Buuuuuuuut.... it's really fucking good? I wasn't expecting that at all. The Michael Jackson influence is pretty clear musically, maybe a bit of Jamiroquai-ish jam in there too, and I guess it's shouldn't be a surprise that an album called "ArchAndroid" has a bunch of electric sheep references. This is what modern pop music should sound like, not the lowbrow shit filling the top 50. What a shame - this should be way better known. It has vision, ambition, variety and it's incredibly well written. I actually listened to it twice - this for an album over an hour long, in a genre I don't usually like. That's saying something. I think it even cured my hangover. Or maybe that was the codeine, not sure. Either way this is a fucking 5/5.

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4

Frantic, mad in scope. I'm not sure one listen does it justice.

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3

Another cool post-punk pre-alternative album. I thought this one was interesting. There are times when it sounds like Bruce Springsteen, albeit with much different subject matter. It's easy to see the seeds of a lot of the music I grew up with in the 90s in this album. It goes by really fast, but every song is solid 4/5

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2

2 of 5 (10/30/20) Well, this was unexpected. This is very much not my genre. It's dancy and poppy with smooth vocals and slick production values. I have been known to call this kind of stuff musical exlax. There's something about this album that keeps it from tripping over into the diharrea zone, though. Maybe it's the conceptual nature of the thing that keeps it on course. It does feel like every track leads into the next in a cinematic storyarch. Perhaps that's what makes this work. Somewhere around track 6, it picks up and findsome funk and that was a lot more enjoyable. That said, it never really got anywhere interesting for me.

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2

Ikke min type musikk. Men e det bra eller dårlig? Vet ikke!

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5

One of those albums I've been meaning to check out forever, but never did. Always knew Janelle had a big Prince influence, but I think it's unfair to just stop there. OutKast, Disney movies... feel like I can gleen a LOT from this album. Only one song I feel like doesn't fit ("Make the Bus", which is a shame, cos I enjoy Of Montreal), but other than that, the album flows at a relentless and wonderful pace. Amazing piece of art. Favorite tracks: "Wondaland", "Say You'll Go", "Dance or Die"

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5

Love this! Never heard any of these songs before but this is definitely something I plan to listen to more.

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5

Concept album, very neat!

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5

Holy shit this album rips. Just so man kickass tunes. Stand out is Cold War.

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5

This was stellar. I wasn’t sure what to expect going in other than that I knew Janelle always had a ton of praise. Her voice was insanely beautiful and I didn’t think one track was boring. The concept is really interesting and the fact that she covered so many genres kept it engaging. Would listen again.

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5

I Love all stuff like this, soul and electric THAT'S FIRE!!

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5

40s dance/lounge and 60s retro feel. Upbeat songs give a fun groovy mood where slower laid back songs come on smoothe and clean.

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5

Here we go! For a while now this has been one of my top 10 my favorite albums of all time, so naturally it's an absolute joy to listen to again. This album is a masterpiece through and through. So many musical styles and themes are explored and crafted into fun and interesting songs. This album starts out very theatrical, which drives the theme of a fictional story in a sci-fi world based on Fritz Lang's 'Metropolis', with social issues mirroring the ones we face in our world. In Janelle Monae's world, the android fighting for it's freedom is her as a black woman navigating a similarly hostile environment. The vocal and musical range that Janelle Monae traverses in this album highlights just how talented she is. We see art-pop, R&B rock, punk, jazz, hip-hop, folk, and a series of amazing features that give each song such a distinct life of it's own, while still contributing to the narrative of the story. Despite how different each song feels, the songs flow together so well, with the same musical motifs revisited in new ways. Overall, I love this album and I'm glad it exists. It's an important album that both encapsulates the struggles of a black woman but at the same time shows her strength, and overwhelmingly impressive talent through good music and good story telling.

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5

Amazing! Loved this album. Never listen to Jenelle Monae before and I really enjoyed it. She has incredible range and I love the mix of Jazz, Rap, and pop. it made for a unique sound!

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5

one of my favorite albums of all time. front to back. as an aspiring musician it’s the album I wish I could’ve made.

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5

Only knew Tightrope - this was way better than I expected. Really liked this album a lot - beautiful lush sounds throughout and some bangers. Only negative is it's a little long but I guess it's a double album?

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5

It's so fuckin' cool to see sci-fi and concept album tropes applied to a pop album like this! The orchestral intro and varied interludes throughout plus the extended outro song just let you know you are not in for just pop and bookends it all well! Outside of the theatricality of it, I loved the mixing and blending of genres throughout. Faster, Cold War, and Oh, Maker were favorites. It's still a feel-good pop record! Just with some wild afrofuturism in its bloodstream! This might be a 4 in reality, but I'm a sucker for theatricality and want to celebrate concept albums and sci fi stories like this finding success!

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5

Such a talented artist

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5

This one was nowhere on my radar. Awesome album. Need to listen to more Janelle Monáe.

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5

HOLY SHIT FINALLY A GREAT ONE

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5

I really liked this one. There were some sections that seemed a little bland, and it would have been nice to have more overarching themes, but it was still interesting as an album. A low 5 from me.

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5

Vital

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5

4.5!! Production is really good, a ton of fun to listen to. Fantastic vocals and pretty cool lyrics!! There are some weaker songs on here but the beats are always cool enough to keep me interested. i love the android/future theme and I wish it were a bit more cohesive, without something tying it all together it feels like it goes on a bit long, maybe it’d be clearer with another listen.

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5

Wow, never expected to enjoy this album so much. Didn’t know much about Janelle M - I had half listened / watched the “Dirty Computer” video, and thought it was pretty good. Excellent throughout I liked suite II a little more than III. Tightrope was the standout track, and I also really liked “Oh, Maker”. A lot of genre shifts were cool. Ilthought “Come Alive” could have been an X cover. 4.5 Stars, and rounding up.

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5

THE FUCKIN BESSSSST. Janelle Monae does not miss on this album. A beautiful voice and wonderful, amazing songs. An honest treat to listen to.

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5

The music grabbed my attention right away! Really enjoying this album

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5

I'm a lot more familiar with Janelle Monae's later albums so this was fun to explore. It was a fun album to fully immerse myself in! She has such fun creating concept albums that span a wide array of musical compositions. Gotta love the bass in some of these, and how much she changes her voice from song to song. I really like some of the featured artists as well like Of Montreal on Make the Bus. Submitted this before listening to the last few—what a mistake! Wrapping the whole thing up with a Shirley Bassey style jam?!? Now demanding Janelle Monae be the next Bond soundtrack.

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5

Good album

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5

Es completamente diferente de algo que haya escuchado antes, en verdad es buenísimo, lo recomiendo demasiado. Se siente tan actual, además las letras son preciosas, todo el álbum es una obra de arte y lo adoro, es de lo mejor que he escuchado y definitivamente uno de mis álbumes favoritos. Cada canción se siente diferente pero al mismo tiempo conectada con la anterior. No hay palabras para describir lo magnífico que es este álbum, lo amé.

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5

Rating: 9/10 Best songs: Dance or die, Faster, Locked Inside, Tightrope

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5

Far more weird and interesting than I expected. Very cohesive and excellent flow to the whole thing.

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5

Started off strong with an odd overture which is uncommon for a 2010 album but with futuristic sounds which fits the album. Where is suite 1? Not what I expected, I did not expect her to rap. Song 2 is a banger. Song 3 blends well with 2 at the start. This is the first album that seems like an album, not just a collection of songs. song 4 Funky jackson drums, catchy and continuation of the story. song 5 change of pace, cool mix of classical medieval style callbacks in the lyrics in a song/album about android/human lovers. song 6 - starts slow and then picks up but again a change from last song. song 7 - fits in with the album theme but also about herself/music great double/triple meaning. song 8 - big boi banger, great continuation / other side of previous track. "You gotta keep your balance Or you fall into the gap It's a challenge but I manage Cause I'm cautious with the strap" Great high and low vocals while singing about highs and lows. song 9 - what is she singing? https://genius.com/Janelle-monae-neon-gumbo-lyrics fits in with the album but bit too much for me in the middle of an album should be an outro to a song not a song in itself song 10 - yet another style. Cool how it could be about either cyborg or human to either "maker". another style on the outro of the song. song 11 - harder style. big juxtaposition to the last. Fits in with her several mentions of schizo in this song and the whole album. vocals are wild, wonder how this is live. song 12 - sex and drugs very psychedelic. A more modern sounding lucy/strawberry style beatles song as in the distorted vocals and druggy feel. song 13 - another example of how this album is meant to be listened to with the album liner / internet with you but works also on its own. song 14 - another good blend from last song. She is a good rapper regardless of her singing and songwriting which is odd. "Confusion is a walrus" song 15 - what? so out of left field. Not mad about it. song 16 - dreamy/childlike very jarring with that previous song. Could be a tomtom club with the lyrics and less android references. song 17 - 57821 odd title, apparently a android reg number. "magical" sound and another blue reference. song 18 - "Love is such a novelty A rarely painted masterpiece A place few people go or ever know" very mellow/serene song, very zen great lyrics, flows very well song 19 - very orchestral/theatrical, odd bit of spanish. lyrics call out music and movie as ways of describing their love which is very cool, very good closer. https://genius.com/Janelle-monae-cd-booklet-annotated to tell the background story Metropolis is a good film, worth a watch also.

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5

Incredible album, Janelle has always delivered with concepts and versatility while pushing artistic limits, and this album is no exception

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5

wow amazed this is a fucking album

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5

so cool. great range of song styles, her voice is amazing and gives me 2010 pop ‘now that’s what I call music’ nostalgia but with r&b n funk notes 😵‍💫

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5

LIstening to this album and reading about Jenelle Monae in the process was an absolute joy. What an artisit, with this album reflecting someone who may just be one of the more underrated artists of the 21st century. I can't wait to spend more time with this album and for it to be a part of my long term listening repitoire.

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5

Beautiful voice, great album from front to back.

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5

Incredible, such a cohesive album

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5

This was great. A brilliant mash of genres with interval tracks that didn't intrude at all. The first and last tracks are excellent as well, which probably helps. Some of the middle tracks were weaker, or a bit weirder, but I'll definitely be returning to this one.

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5

Покашьто лучший из тех, что был тута. Хоть я и прям все песенки не прослушал

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5

Top tier album and I feel it only gets better with subsequent listens

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5

Goes from 4 to 5 just because of Come Alive.

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5

Terrific album both lyrically and musically. Janelle Monae manages to cross genre effortlessly without it being jarring or intrusive. She also subverts traditional pop and R&B chord progressions and allows there to be unresolved tension in her music to reflect the lyrical themes. Overall, a super impressive album all around.

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5

Screw it. 5.0. If I could rate higher I would. I've not listened to much of Janelle Monae, but I am wowed by this album. It's hard for me to pull the trigger for 5.0 on something thats new to me like this without it being a groundbreaker or iconic artist. But wow, this was a great disc to end the week on. I'm going to relisten now.

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5

Ok, I honestly don't understand this album, but I think I love it. It's just so out there in terms of mix of styles, lyrical concepts. Viewed as an album, the sheer scope and ambition of it is fantastic. Viewed as a collection of songs, it's hard to believe this is all one album. The best thing about this is the seeming ease with which Janelle Monáe pulls off all of the different style on this album - with all of them sounding good. I even enjoyed the rap on this album - something I enjoy only very rarely.

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5

love janelle, she's queen

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5

Очень круто. Аранжировки супер. Есть чему поучиться.

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5

Funky. No la conocía, me está gustando :)

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5

an absolutely beautiful album. the vocals, the lyricism, the instrumental. everything about this album screams beauty and grace. it sounds like the soundtrack of a thriller or adventure movie. the transitions between songs is flawless and had me thinking i was still listening to the same song. the cohesiveness of the album whether that be through, lyrics or sounds is incredible. its like a journey. the introduction "suite II overture" sounds like something out of indiana jones or some other action movie song composed by hans zimmer. the powerhouse vocals monáe uses in many of the tracks showcases her passion. overall this album seems very feminine to me and expresses this in a subtle way. i think the use of string instruments like violins further supports this as delicate instruments. the title of the album is very fitting. in the second half of the album, monáe seems to use something like auto tune and increases her pitch making her sound like an android of sorts.

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5

Timeless, passionate, groovy, funky, soulful, rockin', romantic, powerful, intriguing, classic, relatable, subversive, splendiferous, seamless, flowing, masterful, genius, classy, supreme, and I wanted to come up with more, but thinking of adjectives is really hard, so I'm just gonna leave it there and say this album is very very very good.

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5

Great diverse album

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5

Janelle Monaé is so much cooler than I’ll ever be and I’m kicking myself for never having listened until 2022. This album is somehow orchestral, soul, jazz, pop, hip hop, rock, rhythm and blues, it’s a really fun listen that I absolutely will come back to again. Cold War and Tightrope are BOPS.

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5

This is straight fire. Hot damn.

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5

Amazing, interesting, experimental but still enjoyable to listen to.

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5

that janelle monae is one talented broad

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5

Beautiful!

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5

4.5

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5

What a wonderful surprise, an album i would never have listened to but absolutely loved. The range of genres and influences is mind-blowing, and the variety in the vocal performances makes it hard to believe it was one artist (with guests) responsible. I love a concept album, and this is as high concept as anything, but the songs stand up individually as well. Dance or die, faster, tightrope (with big boi), wondaland, and my new favourite song Come Alive (War of the Roses) are so good I can hardly believe I hadn't heard them before. What an album, and this is exactly the reason I wanted to do this!

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5

god... what a fucking album. really.

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5

I love it!

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5

Future funky. Loved the scale and imagination at play here. Hints of Funkadelic, elements of Todd Rundgren. No expense spared, no kitchen sink unutilised. Huge fun.

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5

This puts so many albums on this list to shame. The talent and beauty of the music is ridiculous. Oh Maker is on a whole different level. I wish there were more stars to give.

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5

Pretty sick tbh

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5

A little too long. But holy shit what a great album.

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5

Jao, ovaj album ima toliko raznoliku paletu žanrova da bi svaka pisma zaslužila svoj review. Ža mi je šta ima toliko dobrih pisama za koje nisan nikad cula, a koje su mi osobno bolje od nekih njenih mainstream hitova. Baš se osjeti utjecaj Michaela Jacksona, Bowie-ja i Prince-a (šta nije čudno s obzirom da je posli i surađivala s Princeom!!). Usprkos tome šta mi ovih par elektro pisama nije silo, druge su mi toliko dobre (pogotovo ove ukomponirane s klasičnom glazbom 🤤) da zaslužuje visoku ocjenu od mene.

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5

One of my favorite modern RnB albums ever made, though it's becoming less and less modern. Timeless production with detailed, scifi inspired beats that incorporate art pop into old school funky grooves and bass lines. All tied together by janelles eccentric performance and infectious energy.

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5

This was a complete banger! Took me by surprise. I've liked Janelle Monáe before but not done a deep dive on her older albums but this was outstanding. It was so diverse in sounds but still all felt very together as an album. Loved it

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5

No surprises, I love this album

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5

Wow this is new to me and sooo cool! Really enjoying it so far! OMG the themes and story-telling, the interesting sounds, the classical music sections, this is just so incredible exciting and fantastic. Her voice is sensational, it reminds me of Lianne La Havas wow!

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5

Enjoyed it! Each song interesting and unique and different from the previous. Some dancey, many tell a story. Would listen again!

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5

Loved it. Never heard it before but the girl has a great voice. Who says the concept album is dead? I shall be listening to this again, and investigating more.

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5

Literally incredible. Zero skips.

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5

I really, really, really enjoyed this. Not being at all familiar with the artist, I went into this completely blind. What a fantastic album! This has definitely been added to my rotation and I will be seeking out more from this artist.

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5

I'd never listened to Janelle Monáe before... Incredible. It's got funk, psych, punk, jazz, it's conceptual, it's got outstanding singing and above all else, it's the catchiest shit you'll hear in a while. One of the best I've heard

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5

A kaleidoscopic trip.

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5

Damn! She can sing. What a voice! Really enjoyed this album. Great writing, great vocals. Poetic. Creative. Worked in and out of the box. Quite impressive. Def listen again. Did feel like I kept hearing voices. That was weird.

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5

Great!

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5

A wonderful surprise. Never heard of this one but will come back again in the future. Covering so many styles and genres I even won’t bother to listen it all here. It does make me think that a lot of my ratings are based on expectations. This is getting 5 stars partly because I was not coming in with a high standard to meet. Some of the world’s most iconic albums have received a low marks because they didn’t live up to the legend that preceded them. Not sure if that’s totally fair or not…?

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5

05/02/2022 She's one of the greats. Sweeping vocals and instrumentals; with top-tier production value to die for. Absolute fire from start to finish.

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5

This was fantastic!

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5

I loved loved loved this! Super creative and interesting. Great performance. Super bold and it just never let up in its awesomeness!

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5

Oh my god. From the first Overture I immediately thought, "This is beautiful." I was worried to have high expectations so early; little did I know that the rest of the album would exceed any expectations I had set up. Janelle Monae has an amazingly beautiful voice, and the album is simply electric. She mixes genres as styles flawlessly intermingle with one another. The energy burns you from the inside and doesn't give you a break. Production is top notch. What is there to criticize about this album? It feels like a real work of art.

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5

Stellar album, covers so many different genres flawlessly. She has such a great voice. This album was wonderful. You can really hear the funk influences.

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5

That album was amazing. The supporting artists on it, the song choices, just everything.

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5

Wow. Just wow. Something for everyone here. I didn’t expect to like it but I LOVED it.

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5

Some tracks are seamless in their transition making it more like one long piece with movements, which is interesting given the album starts with an overture. The songs themselves are love letters intertwined with political statements or statements about society as a whole. A great album.

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5

Damn, this is a hell of an album! Opening with an orchestra tuning up is a ballsy move but Monáe has the goods to pull it off. Fave track - a lot of great tunes on here, but the use of "Clair de Lune" on "Say You'll Go" was just b e a u t i f u l . . .

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5

A nearly perfect album. Loved it when it was first released. I was worried it might not hold up but it did not disappoint.

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5

Great album. I'm a big Janelle Monae fan and love all her albums. This is the most 'concept' album of her arsenal, packed full with great pop/rnb/soul/funk and memorable tracks 5*

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5

Okay this isn't my usual style, but wow this album was fantastic! It's so rare for me to be so impressed by an album that isn't my style, that I knew nothing about. I was dazzled by the diversity of styles here. A+ for creativity. This could be the greatest pop album of the 21st century. This album is better than anything I've heard from other female mega popstars. Better than Mariah Carey, better than Madonna, better than Whitney Houston, better than Taylor Swift, better than Olivia Rodrigo. I didn't like the second track, so I was doubtful for a sec. But basically every other track was great, and some were just plain fantastic. I really thought it got better as it went on.

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5

Love it. Not as good as Dirty Computer, but literally fantastic.

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5

It's that rare beast, an album on this list I have never heard of but is deserving it's place. Everything is great: the production, songwriting, vocals and a variety of different musical styles that compliment each other. Favourites were 'Sir Greendown,' 'Oh Maker', 'Come Alive' and 'Mushroom and Roses'.

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5

This album is so... theatrical! I mean, the intro song alone (Suite II Overture) was straight out of a climatic build up in James Bond or something. Then the first few tracks just had me jamming and dancing in my living room. So interesting how the instrumentals of this album meld so well with Janelle's Soul/R&B voice, without the songs feeling like soul or R&B. This is was such a fun album that I had no idea about before. Janelle has always been such a unicorn to me, like I have heard of her, but never really heard her.

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5

How is this 12 years old!? Definitely a 21st-century album that deserves its place here. Delightful and texturally unique.

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5

So happy to see this one on here! I loved Janelle Monáe in high school and still do today. The ArchAndroid was probably the first album by her I listened to. It’s part of a series of concept albums about a robot who falls in love with a human — seemingly an allegory about queer relationships, as Janelle is pan and non-binary. That was my interpretation in high school, but now I’m glad to do a re-listen of the full album and recalibrate. First, we start with an overture. I’m no connoisseur of classical music, so I’m not sure how people think this holds up on its own. In context, this sets the musical scene and plot, perhaps musically detailing the war that’s sung about later on. It’s short and quickly leads into the Fela Kuti-esque “Dance or Die.” In this song, the Androids are headed to war to find the escaped android. While she is describing the plot of the story, the lyrics seem to double as a social commentary about the real world. We move into the fast-paced “Faster.” This song details the relationship between the protagonist and the human she loves. Great chorus. “Locked Inside” - a song about how love is a necessary ingredient for freedom. In a hateful and intolerant society, you can’t help but feel “locked inside,” looking at the free land in your mind. I think this song is the weakest of the first three, so I didn’t remember it much. “Sir Greendown” - has a 60’s feel. A simple little song in which the protagonist yearns for the calm company of her love, Sir Greendown. “Cold War” has a much more 2010’s feel. I think this particular song leaves much to be desired and I’m surprised it was one of the singles for this album. This one sounds what I’d expect a pop singer singing about war to sound like, while the other songs accomplish that with more finesse and intrigue. “Tightrope” - this is the other single that I didn’t listen to much when I was in high school. This one also has a clear 2010’s feel, which isn’t necessarily bad but this feels like sensory overload even though nothing is really happening! It’s a shame that the two singles are the worst songs on the album! Okay now that those two songs are over we move to “Neon Gumbo,” which is an ambient interlude with backwards lyrics (you can read them backwards and see what she’s saying) — seemingly a coded message from the main Android getting past the Android censors. Now one of my favorites: “Oh, Maker.” I really do believe this is one of the best songs on the album and maybe one of Janelle’s best. Next to “Come Alive” — another strong one on the album. The little bell and chorus interlude between verses gives me chills. The previous song and this one really demonstrate her vocal range and agility, as she’s able to do controlled runs as well as grating screams. I’m really interested in the balance between electronic and analog instruments in this album, and the literary reasons for the shifts. On “Mushrooms and Roses,” the singer’s voice is completely caked in a tremolo underwater filter, while the rest of the music is not electronic. Anyway, this psychedelia-inspired song is great — still more interesting than the two singles. We take a second with the next overture, which introduces the final part of the Metropolis story. “Neon Valley Street” - neo-soul tune with Prince influences. “Make the Bus” - I listened to this one nonstop in high school. I was a huge of Montreal fan. I think the melody and arrangement of this song is great (it’s basically just an of Montreal song slapped into a Janelle Monae record). The lyrics are fun and endlessly compelling. “Wondaland” - bubble gum poppy Jesus Christ Superstar meets Aqua. A dream you didn’t know you dreamed of - Janelle’s voice on this one has a comedic android-inflected affect to match the lyrics. “57821” is about Cindi and Sir Greendown being in waiting for each other. The melody again is impeccable. I think I skipped over this 6 minute song when I was in high school - “Say You’ll Go.” A strangely hypnotizing love song. The last song is “BaBopByeYa,” a jazzy noir tune also super long but compelling. An ending that leaves you wanting more. This record is an incredible work of Afro-Futurism, though its modifiers and influences don’t at all stop there. An array of different people could find a song they like on this album, and perhaps a few of them would even stay and listen to the story. This album can be analyzed on countless levels, and it also stands as entertainment, too. I listened to The Who’s rock opera during this project, and I regret giving it a 5, which I did so almost out of obligation to it’s supposed legacy. I strongly feel that, as far as literary concept albums go in rock music, the ArchAndroid is seriously one of the strongest. This is one of the best albums of the 2010s without a doubt. Janelle Monae brings you into an immersive world that causes listeners to look at the world we live in with new eyes. Aside from the two singles that I think don’t hold up as well as other tracks, this album is an easy 5, in its literary pursuits, the many musical explorations, and Janelle Monae’s captivating and inspiring persona throughout.

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5

The concept is incredible, the songs are great, the lyrics are amazing, the mood is fantastic, and I don't know enough good words to describe it. I've heard some Monáe songs before, but this album surprised me, and it's already on my favorites list.

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5

Me sorprendió mucho el disco porque esperaba un pop plástico y Beyoncésco, pero no, y así es como debe hacerse el pop: Es divertido, lleno de cambios que apenas se sienten y con un gran sonido en todas las capas. Si quizá le sobra algo son unos cuantos minutos hacia el final del disco, pero incluso la rola que tiene a Of Montreal de invitados es muy buena.

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5

Este disco es un viaje de géneros y sonidos muy, muy agradable.

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5

11/10 beys slayed

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5

Already love this but happy to listen again.

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5

Wow, I am quite surprised I liked this one. It was not what I was expecting and I liked it. Good variety of genres. Only thing I'd say is it got a little long by the end.

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5

Impressive

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5

amazing album 5/5 gets you right into the album and an amazing world, atmosphere and vibe

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4

It's great to see this much innovation in popular music and hearing an artist explore a concept album like this. She obviously put a lot of work into this. Some of the tracks individually don't connect with me, but others definitely do, especially when she explores styles that aren't quite so obvious as in "Come Alive" and "Mushrooms and Roses". Very ambitious! This is one that I wish was more popular among popular music even if it doesn't always speak to me, it still shows what amazing things can happen if people break the mold of popular music and explore, leaving behind the cookie cutter world.

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4

Nice, but some highlight is missing.

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4

This album is such a ride. It's got vibes ranging from 90's euro pop to 60's folk to soul to classical to trippy futuristic sci-fi (looking at you, Neon Gumbo). As a whole it feels very experimental, but it's the kind where I can't tell if it is done as a result of genuine artistic choice or as a result of wanting to be unique. Wondaland is one of those songs that I find catchy and am secretly into but don't want to admit the fact. Ngl, the percussion reminds me a lot of the Futurama theme. Oh, Maker has the chill yet melancholy overtone in its instrumental I'm looking for this autumn, but I think the vocalising ruins that. So I'm torn between a 3-star and 4-star rating but since I find Wondaland good enough to go ahead and admit I'm fond of it, I'll give it that 4.

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4

Really cool, interesting, soulfull, poppy... and long.

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4

Thought this was great. Much better than the more recent album. All over the place, but in a great way.

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4

Afrofuturist

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4

So many sounds on a single album!

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4

Loved it! Seemed to fluctuate between a number of different genres (rap, alternative, one other I can't recall at the moment). Saved a few songs!

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4

Some real cool songs mixed in this album, featuring Of Montreal & Big Boi pushes this from solid 3 to a 4

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4

Not what I expected. I’ll have to check this out when I can pay more attention.

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4

A really solid neosoul record. Had some great grooves and the singing was on point. I’d say it’s downfall would be some of the songs aren’t that memorable and the length is a bit daunting for this music but overall enjoyed this one. Favorite track: Dance or Die Least favorite track: Neon Valley Street

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4

1 funky

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4

Fucking sick, but I’m also a Janelle stan.....it loses me in the middle just a tad

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4

This is pretty fire, although I'm not sure if the extreme diversity of styles quite holds together to support it as a Concept piece. A few more listens might bring me around on that though.

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4

Didn’t know janelle went hard like this some tracks were weak but really enjoyed it

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4

This was way more nuanced than I was anticipating, and while I didn't keep track of individual songs, I loved it as a collection. Absolutely going back in for a relisten.

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4

I can tell it's a good album, but it's not my taste.

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4

Nice album, cool beats and baselines, beautiful singing.

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4

Definitely kept me entertained, I liked the first half of the album better than the back half. It felt like a Broadway play how it flowed through the entire album.

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4

Was pretty great, like a more soul inspired bjork type deal. Favorite tracks were war of roses, neon gumbo, mushroom roses

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4

Knew great album

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4

like most critics I can heap high praise upon the concept and musical range. i can imagine Fela Kuti really enjoying this

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4

Interesting. R&B is not my cup of tea, but this is nice.

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4

Love her. Great record.

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4

This was a really cool album. Musically, it moved all over the place between things that were straight R&B to English Folk to borderline Punk Rock. Big Boi's influence on the album was pretty apparent to me as it sounded liked Janelle was channeling Outkast at times. Good listen

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4

Sympatyczne

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4

Sounds good. Production reminds me of Pyramids throughout a lot of the album which is, of course, great.

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4

Pop, soul, música clásica... Recuerda a Michael Jackson en parajes.

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4

Glad to see Janelle take the spot of most current album on this list. And what an album this is. I’ve grown to love Janelle more and more over the years especially with her most recent album, Dirty Computer and her film roles. I’m glad I’m getting to hear her on this album as well because this is a kaleidoscope of different songs and styles that fits her so well. Her whole persona has always felt so otherworldly and that is on full display in this album especially with the gorgeous cover art and title. She really is an android in the best way. I really enjoyed Faster, Locked Inside, Cold War (which was sampled by a super underground musician named Santoma). I’m still listening to it and just hit Oh, Maker which at the start could have been a Carpenter’s song. She breezes through so many different genres and even though the album is listed as R&B it could be hip hop or pop or electronic. I would also equate her to a more sophisticated and technologically advanced (keeping with android theme) of Nikki Minaj where she does voice changes and quick verses along with serenades. But most of Janelle’s songs are focus on very different things than Ms. Minaj. The best compliment I can give this (along with her other albums) is it always feels like I’m listening to the future.

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4

Ruchira: 3.5.

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4

Oops I'm really behind in this. Good album! I really like the sci-fi vibe and Monaé has a great voice.

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4

This was more constantly upbeat than most albums I listen to so I was a bit overwhelmed by the end, but it was good! I really liked Tightrope and tbh it was nice to have a female artist. Awesome sounds, loved her voice. I didn't listen as hard to the lyrics as I'd have liked so no comment there. 4/5 stars

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4

Another great album. Enjoyed the Suite II tracks much more than Suite III. Upbeat tracks. I think Emily talked about this at some point, but the fact that an album from 2010 made the list shows how standout it is.

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4

This was an eye-opener. I knew her name but had not listened to her. Excellent stuff - good songs and great production. Good diversity in styles. I liked it.

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4

Mushrooms and Rose's, Sir Greendown, Neon Valley Street, 57821,Babopbyeya all make for a very interesting album. Having not heard of the artist I was really impressed. Something different.

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4

This was a wild entry, and now I'm curious about Janelle Monáe.

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4

Sweet

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4

miks svega ali sve ide do jaja zajedno

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4

Unexpected delight! Great album; really upbeat.

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4

Eclectic! Very interesting and enjoyable. Haven't even had a chance to take in the lyrics and themes to see the project as a concept album. So many influences and I think I even heard some Smiths on Oh, Maker! Unfair to just say she is "like Prince". Her ambition is quite different. Impressive.

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4

So much variety! It's as if she is an artists trying diverse genres until she finds one that lands on a hit. Loved cold war, tightrope, oh maker, the overtures, and the surprise inclusion of Of Montreal. This album is one to spin when you're tired of boring music!

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4

Интересный альбом. Необычный жанр. Талантливо.

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4

"Tightrope" might be the only track I've heard from this album, but it's not the only track I've heard from Monáe. This album was a happy surprise, with and overall happy sound and several tracks that I really enjoyed. Monáe frequently reaches back to earlier say close enough.

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4

An amazing album containing some of Janelle Monáes all time great songs, let down only slightly by the run length.

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4

I've heard such good things about this record, excited to listen to it! Shit was dope.

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4

My first listen, so taking it with a grain of salt. Album felt all over the place, no two songs similar but overall the sound was great. Not something I’d return to frequently but I would listen again.

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4

Muy bueno, algunos de los temas no fueron para nada de mi estilo y probablemente no elegiría escucharlos de nuevo. Sin embargo, overall, experiencia positiva. Difícil encasillar lx artista en un género musical. Increíblemente versátil.

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4

Sounded very theatrical, big. There we’re some parts where I wanted the song to end but it went a little longer, but overall a great album with a lot of different and unique songs.

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4

Bombastic. The backing band is great throughout, and she goes all-in the whole album. The first couple tracks are a rough start but once it gets going it never hits the brakes.

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4

Pretty good, although Dancing Queen is the obvious standout.

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4

Oh, Maker is a good one. Say You'll Go. 57821. Mushrooms & Roses.

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4

Way better than I thought coming into this. Adding her to the rotation.

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4

Takes its time to get going but encompasses a wide swath of well-blended influences at its end. Swing, acid house, a touch of Tropicana and more are blended into unique pop operas that have a life all their own. The interludes could be trimmed (even in the context of the narrative) and some fat cut from overlong arrangements, but a great concept album over all.

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4

A great album with some really electrifying tracks

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4

I consider this a bit of a modern classic but had to downgrade it to a 4, i'd forgotten how much it loses steam near the end. Still a great variety of sounds and layers

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4

I don't listen to much "pop" music, full albums almost never. This is the best pop music album I have heard in a long time. So varied in musical genres and always interesting. It plays like a concept album but with changes of mood and style that keep it interesting. Changes of style are nothing if the music isn't interesting and this album held my interest throughout. I was shocked at how the album flew by so quickly. I am tempted to give it a 5, but 4.5 is all I can muster. A discovery! 4.5 stars

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4

Really a 4.5

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4

Never heard this before, am not super familiar with Janelle Monae in general. But man this album goes all kinds of places. This album has what feels like a dash of everything. R&b, Funk, Electronic, Rap, Jazz, Orchestral, Disco, Film scores, Even like some psychedelics rock and like some like British Folk influence. Like this mash of Some David Bowie and outkast. Just so much weird stuff it's pretty neat. Especially with the whole using metropolis as a foundational idea. It's really good.

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4

Primer disc majestuós de Monae. Ja quan va sortir es va convertir en un secret a veus i des d'aleshores no ha perdut un bri de la seva frescura. Hi ha temes immediats, com 'Faster' o 'Cold War' i d'altres que requereixen més atenció, però com a estrena discogràfica és molt meritòria

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4

Musically really in interesting pulling from upbeat swing tunes to classical samples and other influences, really took me off guard

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4

First impression: looks like comercial pop, not big expectations. First song is a classical overture. Already had a big start, probably will have to take my prejudice to the garbage. Love how the first songs flow like it's a single song. It just follows from a song to the next and you don't notice it.

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4

Nearly gave this 5*, went back for a second listen. It gets muddled and shabby after the second overture but in general very enjoyable.

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4

13.75 7.639/10

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4

Right between a 3 and a 4, but trending toward a 4 for the sheer variety and ambitiousness. So many genres are here, and such virtuosic singing.

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4

Another pleasant surprise

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4

very cohesive, very good fave tracks: faster, tightrope, locked inside

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4

Not sure what i listened to. A lot of different types of music, but it was good.

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4

Looks like I am in for a real ride on this one. Yea this is all over the map in terms of genres and feels. Locked Inside is a groove at the end of the universe. Cold War is a great track made mediocre by too much heavy handed mastering compression. Tightrope is a banger. Come Alive is a another one. yea all of Suite II is good, lets see Suite III. I don't get Make The Bus. I like the vocal texture on Wonderland. I got lost about halfway through Suite III. It launches into these lavish soundscapes, and if you haven't been locked into the story, you will feel lost. But Monae's voice is so rich and plays so nicely with the the elegance of the soundscape.

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4

What a surprise from someone I only know as an actress. Great almost cinematic concept album. Reminds me of the great pieces of art from the 70s album greats. Massive respect to Janelle, and what a voice!

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4

Enjoyable if not a little weird. I don’t know her stuff all that well but it’s always entertaining.

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4

This one was good, but hard to describe. I'd like to listen to it again sometime. 0RS

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4

Wow. This was really surprising, in a good way. I've never heard of Janelle Monáe, and didn't know what to expect. I certainly didn't expect something super eclectic ranging from pop/R&B to songs that were reminiscent of David Bowie, Prince, Bjork, even one that reminded me of Enya. I need to listen to this a few times to totally get it, and I plan to. 4 stars.

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4

When this came up it wasn't one that I expected to enjoy, just that it would be one to get through to tick off. But you know what, I enjoyed it. It's a really complex and varied album. The production is brilliant.

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4

it ate my review but the short of it is that this is some kind of prog r&b i didn't know existed and it's cool as hell

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4

It's a lot different feel to what I normally listen to but I liked it.

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4

The scope and range are very impressive. Special album. I love this app. Has shown me some excellent music I would never have gone near otherwise.

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4

solid 4.5. Her albums are so good, great sound peppered with theming you don't tend to find in non-electronic music.

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4

Very Theatrical with a variety of styles throughout and fascinating lyrical content to dig into. Favorites: Faster, Tightrope, Oh Maker

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4

Sometimes it’s really cheesy but you gotta respect the boldness of this album

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4

Great album, first half stronger than the second.

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4

Very experimental

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4

Eine wirklich interessante Künstlerin. Weiter beobachten. 06.12.2021

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4

Janelle commet ici une des erreurs élémentaires du générateur: nous proposer un album bien trop long. Ceci est la preuve d'une arrogance la plus absolue, Janelle pensant pouvoir nous tenir intéressé pendant une heure. Cela n'est evidemment pas le cas, mais le grand début d'album lui assure tout de même un 4/5 bien mérité. A noter que mon camarade d'écoute robteillère fait preuve de la même arrogance vis a vis de sa propre musique, ce dernier se permettant de donner des concerts payants. En effet, ce dernier s'est reproduit en Pologne ce week end, devant un auditoire d'environ 4 personnes. La non plus, impossible pour rob de tenir son auditoire pendant une heure, mais cela va même plus loin, puisque 3 des 4 spectateurs ont quitté le concert dès le premier refrain entamé par rob. Un fiasco pour la salle de concert, qui ejectera rob sans même lui payer son cachet.

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4

Un album très sympathique et varié de la part de notre Janelle préférée. On notera toutefois une outro complètement chapardée à l'ami Debussy. J'ai prévenu les ayants droit du compositeur qui m'ont confié leur intention de porter plainte dans les prochains jours. Affaire à suivre.

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4

So very very close to a 5 for me. I did not expect to love this album as much as I did, what a JAM. There's a lot of weird experimental stuff going on, her voice is absolutely AMAZING and the beats I can't help but bop along to and the orchestra is just... Fantastic. The reason why I won't give it a full 5 is because it fell a bit flat for me after Suite III Overture (except for maybe Wondaland). I think if it'd stopped there it'd have gotten a full 5 stars. And tbh had a bit of an off day as well so might actually have given it a 5 if I was feeling more generous. Adding to my regular album rotation.

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4

This started very strong with jam after jam but it lost me towards the end. There were a few that just didn't quite hit for me. Still a strong enough album for me to rate a 4/5.

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4

I guess this album was influenced by a lot of artist, like Prince, Kate Bush and Lauryn Hill. A concept album that marked a quantum leap forward in musical ambition. (8/10) FT: Say You'll Go, Come Alive

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4

She has an amazing voice and I really enjoyed the more upbeat songs.

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4

This album drips with style and confidence. Great production, vocals, and just a super interesting listen all the way through. 4.5/5

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4

This is an exhaustive album. Janelle Monáe has taken me on a musical history lesson that spans the last century. Eclectic is one way to describe it and in a way I am reminded of Beck who did a similar kind of genre smashing. Needs a few listens to capture what is going on, and no interruptions which has been hard listening to it while working in a busy office. Maybe a bit over long and unaccessible in places but I'm OK with that

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4

The best of this album IMO: - Dance Or Die - Faster - Tightrope - Neon Valley Street I love how fast-paced it sounds. C'est limite big beat. Great voice. Fantastic beats. Colorful! Great variety in the songs with the voice effects and whatnot. 4.3/5

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