Janelle Monáe – The ArchAndroid

The ArchAndroid

Janelle MonáeThe ArchAndroid Bad Boy Records 512256-2 (2010)

The ArchAndroid takes doses of neo-soul, like Amy Winehouse, and pop with dance club appeal, like Rihanna, and filters it through contemporary rock and hip-hop sensibilities.  You can find songs here with clear references to vintage Michael Jackson and Prince.  Most surprising (and disturbing) are times when a canned horn section recalls Miami Sound Machine.  Anyway, none of this is new, exactly.  And the lyrics are no great attraction.  But what makes this album work is that it’s more consistent with less obvious filler than most pop albums of its time.  It is too dense for its own good, perhaps.  Still, the results are refreshingly ambitious and the heart is in the right place.