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Janelle Monáe

The ARCHAndroid (Bad Boy/Wondaland)


On her debut long-player, the Atlanta-based artist tells the continuing story of android Cindi Mayweather, who happens to embody the DNA of one Janelle Monáe, in the year 2719. Working with producers Nate Wonder and Chuck Lightning, executive producer Diddy and co-executive producer Big Boi, Monáe supports her lyrical realm with inspired, if sometimes erratic, styles. She rhymes, sings ’60s-styled jazz and ’70s-era sweet soul, funk and R&B (the contemporary, pop form of the latter). Sure, continuity between these forms exists, but sometimes simplicity’s sufficient. This brings to mind how, on the back liner, “conceived” is misspelled as “concieved.” Rules are, after all, meant to be broken.

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