• Record Label: Atlantic
  • Release Date: May 18, 2010
Metascore
91

Universal acclaim - based on 28 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 28
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 28
  3. Negative: 0 out of 28
  1. 100
    Either allow this the dignity of being played through a quality sound system or go invest in a pair of Beats by Dres. This is far less an album than a cinematic experience.
  2. For a first album, The ArchAndroid is astoundingly accomplished. It would be a lie to say there aren't a few lulls in the back end of the record as Monae begins to take fewer risks, but only the truly seminal albums can keep the quality level so high for over an hour.
  3. The result is a dizzying fusion, marked by its lofty ambition and stunning central performance.
  4. Manipulating her voice as much as she does her sound, Monáe widens the cast of characters and pushes along the self-explorative narrative. The ArchAndroid could be the stuff of stage or screen, 3-D without the annoying glasses.
  5. Where many concept albums run a high risk of being pompous, cryptic, and self-important, Monáe keeps things playful, lively, and accessible. It's a delicate balancing act, but Monáe and her band pull it off, resulting in an eccentric breakthrough that transcends its novelty.
  6. She is what we say we want. The ArchAndroid is not my favorite album of the year so far, but it is undoubtedly the best.
  7. The ArchAndroid is a fully immersive, theatrical experience. It's a near-perfect R&B album; hell, it's a fantastic hip-hop, psychedelic, neo-soul, dance and orchestral album too.
  8. To say it's ambitious feels like damning with faint praise; its sheer musical scope--from the James Brown funk of Tightrope to the English pastoral folk of Oh, Maker--is spellbinding.
  9. 90
    Some songs fade out just as they're transforming into something else; others split into several movements, and poetic lyrics psychedelicize hefty topics like war and slavery. Even at 18 tracks, The ArchAndroid feels condensed.
  10. As this wildly talented, unpredictable and near flawless young singer and musician bids her farewell with the album's longest track, BaBopBye Ya, this time in cocktail club torch singer style, one can but marvel at the impressive range, ambition (realised) and detail of this deeply polished, professional yet utterly, brilliantly bonkers album.
  11. The Archandroid is everything her fans had been hoping for and then some; Monae has earned her place at the forefront of black music in 2010. This ballsy, funky, and furiously intelligent album is pop as everybody wishes it would be.
  12. Does every genre suit her equally? Of course not, but most of Janelle Monée's mad experiments yield spectacularly catchy results.
  13. Through the different flavors of ice cream on here, The ArchAndroid: Suites II and III remains a proudly boastful album. It should be discussed by a lot of people and the love it's receiving is no fluke either: this is a skillfully talented artist.
  14. It's funky and fantastic, futuristic but retro. It's in a category of its own.
  15. The reason ArchAndroid is so good is because, from minute one, it is so apparent that its author loves music. And for those of us that love music, that's a real treat.
  16. Its sweep across genres and eras is exactly the point. The time-traveling heroine of "The ArchAndroid" aims to uncover previously hidden points of harmony amid chaos. In this case, it's a big risk that brings big reward.
  17. At times, the fumes of ambition are so thick off "The ArchAndroid," it's hard to absorb in one sitting. All the same, it's a star-making debut.
  18. Monae's inexhaustible swagger and singular style sell both the high-concept theatrics and the schizophrenic sonics.
User Score
9.0

Universal acclaim- based on 407 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 75 out of 79
  2. Negative: 2 out of 79
  1. Aug 22, 2010
    10
    This is one of most impressive albums I've come across in a long time. This album is so large and there are some many different genres ofThis is one of most impressive albums I've come across in a long time. This album is so large and there are some many different genres of music at play that it is difficult to get a proper handle on it with only one listen. It is only after listening to it a few times through myself that I have been able to fully appreciate it. I like that Janelle Monae had the courage to think big with this album and that there were enough people around her to support her vision and make it a reality. I Full Review »
  2. ChetanP
    May 23, 2010
    10
    Every labored-over song in this intentional masterpiece stands out as a shining example of its kind. As with all of the best concept albums, Every labored-over song in this intentional masterpiece stands out as a shining example of its kind. As with all of the best concept albums, you're better off ignoring the concept entirely. Forget about this Metropolis android nonsense; the songs and orchestral interludes here revolve only around the human heart, soul, and spirit. Full Review »
  3. Bill
    May 21, 2010
    9
    Excellent album, but I would say that the obvious singles in it (Cold War and Tightrope) disrupt its flow somewhat, despite being excellent Excellent album, but I would say that the obvious singles in it (Cold War and Tightrope) disrupt its flow somewhat, despite being excellent tracks in themselves. Full Review »