The ArchAndroid - Janelle Monáe
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Universal acclaim- based on 364 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 12 out of 364

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  1. Aug 22, 2010
    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 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 Expand
  2. Sep 9, 2010
    This is a pretty good and fun album, if lacking mainstream appeal. It reminded me a bit of "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots" by The Flaming Lips, as a concept album. There's a lot of atmosphere and variety in the songs, though some of them are a bit short and overcrowded with detail or overproduced. Fewer but longer songs prolly would've been better, to give more room for songs to build. As it is, some of them start at 100% and end up at 110% and then end shortly. There's ballads and there's upbeat pop stuff. It's never really schmaltzy. Good fun record, if a little geeky with the sci-fi, which isn't bad but it might not sell much. I enjoy this record a lot. Prog rock fans will probably like this one a lot too. Expand
  3. Oct 8, 2011
    It's almost impossible to listen to any of the musics in this brilliant album and don't even shake the feet even for a little time. Wiht powerful vocals, sticky lyrics and chasing Cindi Mayweather (Platinum 9000), we go in a trip between the funk of Jaems Brown and the akwardness of Grace Jones. Besides, with great performances, we have across the best newcomer of 2010, with the best album of 2010. Incredible! Expand
  4. Aug 16, 2010
    "What's all the fuss about?" I hear you say! Don't you know??? Somebody made a reasonably ok pop record!!!

    The hype and the ratings only indicate the bad shape of the 2010 music industry in general.
  5. Apr 26, 2011
    Most R&B albums, and a majority of albums by female artists, seem to drag out with very slow tracks, which, while may be nice, never develop into much else, with one high energy track throughout the whole thing. Ms. Monáe managed to overcome this, and make one of the most high energy albums in recent years. She's a vocal powerhouse, making both fun singles and thoughtful ballads string together into one great album. The production on the album is also admirable, top-notch material. The only thing preventing this from a complete 10 is too many over lengthy tracks towards the end of the album, other than that, A+ Material. Expand
  6. Jan 4, 2013
    Janelle Monae is eclectic and an animal. Her influences range from Prince to Joni Mitchell to Outkast, and The ArchAndroid is one refreshing beast of an album. Orchestral pop blends into funkadelic workouts which transform into jazz-esque ballads that comprise one of the best albums to come out of 2010. The singer has clearly established herself as a soulsonic force to be reckoned with, with jams like "Tightrope", "Cold War", and "BaBopByeYa" standing out as some of the best on this heterogeneous smorgasbord of an album. Expand
  7. Sep 12, 2010
    One of the most enjoyable albums of 2010 that doesn't quite fall into any specific genre, which for a music lover like myself, is rather refreshing. If anything it could be funk, but there a lot of R&B elements too, which hints of hip hop and classic rock. Plus, the whole album feels like an adventure, it being so daring and ambitious. It's good to see such great talent signed onto a major label like Atlantic. Expand
  8. Oct 16, 2010
    Great concept album. Her voice is great, the songs are great, everything about it is great. I figured she was something special when Big Boi used her on his Purple Ribbon All Stars album, and now she's out making great music. One of the best things about it is that it isn't your usual R&B albums.
  9. Aug 13, 2010
    One of the most original albums released this year. Janelle Monae isn't afraid to do, well, basically anything on this CD. Rap about zombies and terminators? Check! Make a CD about a time traveling android? Why not? The concept seems strange, but Monae makes it work because she has the guts to do so. And what an impressive voice â
  10. Aug 13, 2010
    Listened to this quite a bit on my 22 hour road trip to Orlando. What can I say? I've fallen in love with her voice. Fantastic album from start to finish. Be sure to check out the Tightrope Wondamix; fun song.
  11. Sep 27, 2010
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. the most incredible and perfect album of this year, this a mix of neo-soul, funk, pop and various genres.... with the amazing voice of Janelle, this job is so original, eccentric, passionate, dramatic and funny! when i hear this album i feel like i'm stay in a classic movie! this sound is so power-full and creative!!! Cold War is so brilliant and perfect!!! like the rest of this excellent album!!! this is really a masterpiece!!! Expand
  12. Aug 17, 2010
    So I am in love with this album so much I hunted down her other album "The Chase Suit" - the music she makes is completely unique, melody and lyrics-wise. I can listen to "Locked Inside" and "Tightrope" any day, any time. Janelle's voice is refreshing, and what I love most about it (as a design student) is her passion for this 20s Art Deco Metropolis theme. This album just works in so many ways *-* Expand
  13. Aug 24, 2010
    9.5 A near perfect masterpiece. Before even reading this review, go and buy this album. Best Album of The Year so far. Everything, from the cinematic vibes and presentation, to the dense and thoughtful lyrics, this album will have you deeply evoked through its themes of minority and discrimination. Using references from the 1927 silent film, Metropolis, this alone, makes the album a weird and absolute incredible listen from start to finish. I love good music, and so does Janelle Monae. Expand
  14. Aug 28, 2010
    I at first felt completely overwhelmed when I listened to this album. I had never heard of Janelle Monae and was overly shocked after discovering how perfect each song worked on its own. Although Monae skips through a huge variety of genres this collection of songs never feels like a mixed bag of tossed together songs but more like a perfectly constructed album that guides the listener through a storyline told by a true musical genius. This is what pop music has needed and This is it! Expand
  15. Sep 2, 2010
    An album you must listen to from start to finish to appreciate it's cleverness and flowing movement. Each song moves effortlessly into the next giving an extraordinary listening experience. Although each song moves into the next so well, each song is different in style and genre so you can listen to the entire thing without being bored by the end. A really great album which deserves the great reviews. Expand
  16. Sep 27, 2010
    Janelle Monae mixes equal portions of Jimi Hendrix, James Brown, Michael Jackson, and Prince into a stew that's all of her own making and enormously satisfying. This woman's talent puts her in Gaga territory -- she's enormously gifted, has flawless showmanship, and endlessly innovative. ArchAndroid is Monae's first full-length release, and it contains multiple gems among its 18 kaleidoscopically different tracks. Don't just focus on the songcraft and genre-warping variety of the album, though -- listen first and foremost to how powerfully and precisely this woman can SING. The release of ArchAndroid marks the public introduction of an epic new talent -- and I'll be sure to say "I told you so" when she's on the cover of every music mag in the known world in a year or two. Oh, by the way, her live act is the most exciting thing I've seen on stage in the last twenty years. She's simply without an equal. Expand
  17. Sep 30, 2010
    I think its quite good. I'm not sure I think its as good as so many others appear convinced it is, but its quite good. The only question now is when we will see the Lady Gaga-esque re-release with The Chase EP in tow. It's gotta be coming. My guess is sometime right after the Grammy's.
  18. Nov 1, 2010
    I really wanted to like this album and was intrigued to hear the genre-crossing styles. There are a few quirky moments here and there and the album is well produced, but the genuinely interesting bits are few and far between. The album sounds like they are trying to throw in as many styles as they can and to a certain extent it achieves this and is probably why it's getting such rave reviews. However, this feat alone does not make it a good album and I found the majority of the album rather contrived and soulless and this ultimately left me bored and expecting more. I'm sorry but it's not the masterpiece that is being touted. Expand
  19. Nov 4, 2010
    this album fulfils all the needs to appreciate good music. the idea of creating a story through music comes of beautifully from the lonely song of '57821' or the upbeat and dynamic 'tightrope' fllled with funky jazz influence but also pop and rap. this album moves music forward, a feat which hasn't been done since the 80 's disco was outlawed.
  20. Nov 5, 2010
    This is one of the best and impressive albums. its perfect in all.This album is absolutely incredible.Brilliant!! The album is so innovative; i've have heard songs like this before!!
  21. May 16, 2011
    This record blew me away! Monáe's voice is unbelievable, and the music behind her is just as good. The concept of the album and how she carried it throughout the record was also very good, most likely the reason for the critical praise she received. If her concerts are as energetic as she is on this record, she would be a sight to behold. Great record!
  22. Nov 17, 2010
    I was previously a Janelle fan when i heard "Violet Star Happy Hunting", so i was generally happy when i heard of this album coming out. But i had NO idea what i was in store for, she is simply amazing, and it's Very rare that i actually listen to a whole album without skipping songs, I am officially a Janelle Monae fan from now.
  23. Nov 22, 2010
    Janelle Monae has superior vocals, unique style and image, and an album that has several genres incorporated into every song, it's one of the most entertaining and unique albums of the year.
  24. Nov 22, 2010
    After a very good year in music overall, this was THE BEST album overall for 2010. I am not a fan of most modern R&B, but this album has me listening to more. Prince, Bowie, M Jackson are all present here. Top to bottom, there are some real classic songs on this album. Definitely should be on every list for best new artist and best album.
  25. Sep 12, 2013
    The sheer scope of The ArchAndroid is vast. The concept of Janelle Monae's alter-ego is one for the books. The ArchAndroid is a fantastic record. Every track is detailed to perfection with hooks and different sounds and of course Janelle Monae's soulful R&B vocals and her futuristic lyrics. The album contains 18 songs, The first 9 being the more superior in it's accessibility and catchiness, while the latter half is more experimental, yet extremely well crafted once you start to really listen to them.

    All In All, Janelle Monae crafted a beautiful debut record and one that many will remember years from now. B+
  26. Nov 26, 2010
    I was extremely impressed. This is a very colourful, diverse, many-themed album. You can tell she worked very hard on this, and there's something in it for everyone. I enjoyed every piece and am very curious about what else she can pull off. She definitely deserves more recognition, but, then again, when you think about what singers are popular these days (Justin Bieber, Kesha) it's not surprising that she doesn't have a place in the mainstream world. Easily one of the best albums of the year. Expand
  27. TWB
    Dec 14, 2010
    Great album. Esp. songs like Dance or Die just stands-out. A true music masterpiece. Don't know how it didn't do well on the charts. People these days don't have good taste in music. Instead of buying and listening to a brilliant albums like this, they buy albums by people who can't even sing like Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber, Ke$ha, etc... if you don't have this album i highly recommend it.
  28. Dec 16, 2010
    This is talent at its best. Janelle has produced yet another collection of eclectic sounds. The depth of each track and the interludes gives one utmost pleasure with every listen. It is a rare showcase of artistry. Definitely one of my best albums this year.
  29. Dec 26, 2010
    The album is certainly a journey through Monae's epic story, set to be completed in her next EP. The cross-genre album certainly is far from austere with many orchestral movements, complemented with folk and even some alternative rock. The foundations of the album lie within the soulful voice of Janelle Monae, which are displayed in tracks such as Cold War, Tightrope, Neon Valley Street and BaBopByeYa. I believe this album is certainly of the best of 2010 and is a sure contender for the Grammy nomination. I cannot wait for the conclusion to this saga. Expand
  30. Feb 19, 2011
    This album paints probably the most clear picture I've ever seen/heard for such a stylistically diverse album. Each song has bits of different generes blended together to the point that each one is present, but impossible to pick out and analyse. Instead the whole album feels like a genre of its own, Janelle Monae is the genre. A beautiful album that has moments of being fun and party inducing, moments of being grave, serious and sometimes sad, and other times its just got that cool, lazy sway that only the most confident musicians can accomplish (think WIndow Seat by Erykah Badu). The point is that it is one of the most amazing pieces of r&b, or whatever you want to call it to come out in a long, long time. Expand
  31. Oct 27, 2011
    Best album of 2010 along with Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. She is so talented. I love the way on how she experimented with many genres. I can't wait until her next album.
  32. Aug 31, 2011
    Its good parts are something special, its bad parts are well....bad. to be fair this album is proabably the most interesting one i have heard over the past few years, it breaks the typical pop mould - something most people are crying out for and it should be applauded because of it.
    Its pretty track heavy and it would of been nice to have it reduced somewhat as their is a good few tracks
    that people will skip (especially in the later parts of the album), all round though its pretty inspiring - even if some of the tracks seem ripped out of a Disney film. Expand
  33. Aug 27, 2011
    Monae is this generation's Lauryn Hill. She has the same strength and brilliance, she as as creative and as talented. The album is a living proof of her sheer talent. It's the album of 2010, period.
  34. Jun 4, 2012
    The ArchAndroid is one of the best albums of all time. And my personal favorite. Janelle created a beautiful soundscape and it draws me in every time I listen. Whether you are listening to the concept, or listening to each song individually as it's own piece, it entertains! This woman had the desire and passion to create something beautiful, and she did. There is a wide variety of influences that can be heard throughout the entire album. And Janelle executed this entire production flawlessly. From the power-house vocals to mild melodies, there were no limits. Daring and bold, this album is what most artists dream of achieving. Definitely looking forward to the fourth and final suite! Expand
  35. Jul 30, 2012
    To put it short: For the evolution of art form called music - this is the most important album made since Bruce Springsteen's Born To Run in 1975. I'm completely amazed by the way Janelle Monáe ventures to different genres and everytime, hits a home-run.
  36. Mar 9, 2013
    Her songs brings the soul of the soul music back, I listened to the full album several times, I can't stop listening to this, if you like R&B or soul music, your life is made.
  37. Feb 13, 2014
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Che accidenti di donnina che è Janelle Monáe. Perché se una, a venticinque anni, scrive e registra un caleidoscopio come questo e casca meravigliosamente in piedi, i numeri deve proprio averli. L’oggetto ha tutto per farsi guardare con sospetto: un concept-album (addirittura!) che racconta la seconda e la terza parte di una saga fantascientifica iniziata nel precedente ‘Metropolis: suite I (The chase)’ e ispirata al film di Fritz Lang richiamato vagamente anche dall’immagine di copertina, il tutto musicato con uno spettro larghissimo di influenze in cui la musica nera ha la prevalenza, ma tutto meno che l’esclusiva. Partiamo da qualche numero: diciotto brani - incluse le due ‘ouvertures’ orchestrali – per oltre un’ora di durata. In tanta abbondanza, qualcosa di troppo c’è, ma Janelle non dà l’impressione di avere fatto il passo più lungo della gamba e l’estrema varietà del disco fa sì che i successivi ascolti regalino sempre nuovi spunti. Non che la prima impressione risulti particolarmente difficoltosa: il substrato generale è un soul dalle grandi venature pop che ha la sua matrice di base nel suono Motown e subisce le influenze di Stevie Wonder, di Quincy Jones o di Prince. Ne consegue che ci sia più di una strizzata d’occhio alle classifiche, particolarmente evidente in ‘Cold war’ che magari pare fatta apposta per entrare in una colonna sonora (o in uno spot), ma è anche iresistibile tra ganci azzeccati e ritmo trascinante. L’inizio del disco ha invece sonorità forse meno immediate, con il nu-soul che permea sia ‘Dance or die’ (in cui il poeta e musicista Saul Williams regala una sfumatura hip-hop) sia, in versione più funk, ‘Faster’, ma già quando quest’ultima confluisce in ‘Locked inside’ (i primi tre brani non presentano soluzione di continuità) l’attitudine pop inizia a farsi sentire grazie a una solarità che può ricordare i Jackson 5. Prima della sullodata ‘Cold war’ c’è uno dei momenti che servono a tirare il fiato: ‘Sir Greendown’ è una ballata da mezze luci con tanto di organo sullo sfondo in cui l’artista dimostra le ulteriori qualità di una voce davvero notevole sia nei pezzi tirati, sia in quelli d’atmosfera. Altri brani simili si trovano qua e là: la morbida (malgrado l’intermezzo rap) ‘Neon valley street’ o quella ‘Say you’ll go’ che fa tanto anni Settanta, mentre ‘Oh maker’ si distacca per un incidere decisamente ‘bianco’ che però si apre in un bel ritornello che mette in mostra la sua netta ascendenza wonderiana. Del tutto in territorio viso pallido è invece ‘57821’ un pezzo appoggiato sulla chitarra acustica che pare rifarsi più al folk britannico che a CSN: realizzato con la collaborazione del duo funk Deep Cotton è uno degli anelli deboli del disco, in compagnia di ‘Make the bus’ dove, assieme agli Of Montreal, Janelle costruisce un ibrido di disco anni Settanta e David Bowie periodo Ziggy che finisce per suonare come una versione meno brillante degli Sparks. Si tratta di canzoni non brutte o magari inutili – come è, invece, l’intermezzo di ‘Neon gumbo’ – ma non all’altezza del resto. Si vedano al confronto il trascinante rhythm ‘n’ blues di ‘Tightrope’, irrobustito dalla voce di Big Boi degli Outkast, oppure la deviazione rock dell’accoppiata costituita da ‘Come alive (The war of the roses)’ e ‘Mushroom & roses’: la prima inizia con ritmica da anni Cinquanta, ma si sviluppa aggressiva dominata da una chitarra fuzz, mentre la seconda ha un rilassato andamento psichedelico che nella voce filtrata richiama i Beatles, ma, soprattutto, nell’effettato assolo di chitarra omaggia Prince. Oltre al non trascendentale disco-pop di ‘Wondaland’ (gli anni Ottanta colpiscono ancora), all’ascoltatore resta ancora la suite nella suite: in quasi nove minuti, ‘Babopbye Ya’ vaga avanti e indietro per quattro decenni – musical anni Quaranta, lounge anni Cinquanta, pop con tocchi di Brasile anni Sessanta, soul classico anni Settanta – dando ulteriore prova dell’eclettismo dell’artista. Un eclettismo che nel brano conclusivo va a scapito della qualità (la carne al fuoco pare davvero troppa) ma che nell’economia complessiva del disco è di sicuro un valore aggiunto: in queste canzoni, Janelle Monáe dà l’impressione di saper mescolare con abilità i mille ingredienti che il passato le mette a disposizione per creare una musica allo stesso tempo immediata e curatissima. In più, va ripetuto, la ragazza ha una gran voce e, vista anche la giovane età, le si perdonano con facilità anche i peccati presunzione. Expand
  38. Nov 19, 2012
    THIS... is my favorite album of all time (let me rephrase: It's in a 2-way tie for my favorite album of all time with 'The Velvet Rope' by Janet Jackson - BUY IT). Ever since I heard Tightrope for the first time, I fell in love with Janelle. I bought the album and, for a year, I played it roughly twice a day on average (from December 2010 till December 2011). Out of the 80 albums I had (at that time; I have many more now) I would play The ArchAndroid 9/10 times. That's a year of non-stop Janelle. I almost would say I have outplayed the album. I still listen to the album consistently as it remains my favorite album still (nearly a year later when I've been introduced to music that has changed my life). The album is magical, timeless, funky, different, etc. Too many words to describe it. I'm only 16 years old, but I know what good music is. The only 2 albums that come close to The ArchAndroid in my opinion are 'The Velvet Rope' and 'Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814', both by Janet Jackson. I'm convinced that no other album with ever top these 3. Janelle is incredibly underrated (seeing as The ArchAndroid hasn't even sold 200,000 copies yet after being released 2.5 years ago; also, the 2 singles released from the album didn't even chart). I hope more people are introduced to her and experience all I have experienced with the album. I love her to death! Expand
  39. Apr 24, 2013
    Beautiful...just sweet perfection. The adventures of the android Cindy Maywether run this album. Lyrics to die for, sounds and beats to enjoy, and just Janelle Monae's ass-kicking screams. A 70-minute album that will fuel your eardums up to serenity. Highlights include Cold War, Oh, Maker, and BabobByeya.
  40. Aug 25, 2013
    A masterpiece. A incredible and challenging album, her style is ecletic and the music is the same. This album is like a movie or some. It's simply the best of this year 2010. Now i'm waiting for the sequel and i expect that it will be a second masterpiece of this talented woman.
  41. Sep 14, 2013
    I love this album! Janelle has so many different styles and genres of music on "The ArchAndroid". The best songs on the album are "Faster", "Tightrope" and "Come Alive (The War Of The Roses)".
  42. Sep 4, 2013
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. It took just one listen. The album just gets better as the tracks are played on and on. It begins amazingly and ends perfectly. It starts with "Suite II Overture" that is charming, then we have a trio ("Dance or Die", "Faster" and "Locked Inside") that makes you wanna dance and sing out loud. Right after we have "Sir Greendown" that slow a bit but still a great song, the lyrics are great and it feels like this is a letter from Cindi to Sir. Greendown himself. "Cold War" and "Tightrope" bring back the 'dancy' feel, with amazing lyrics and production. These two songs are the best ones from the "Suite II". "Neon Gumbo", "Oh, Maker", "Come Alive (War of the Roses)" and "Mushrooms & Roses" end perfectly this first part of the album, but something better (if possible) is coming. The second part is initiated with "Suite III Overture" that is as perfect as "Suite II". "Neon Valley Street" is a great track, with amazing production, "Make the Bus" and "Wondaland" are amazing songs that fit this part of the album but a bit forgettable because of what is coming. "57821" opens the end of the album masterfully. "Say You'll Go" is a great track that makes you dream and think about old movies and a great love, and then it comes. I don't know if an album was EVER ended in such a perfect way. The way "BabopbyeYa" goes and is played, the way this track in its 8 minutes and 48 seconds amaze and impress is too much to handle, the way the three movements are perfectly produced and intertwined is unforgettable, the way Janelle's voice is powerful and sweet, all of these are "BabopbyeYa" in its stunning performance. And when the song ends it makes you want to know what is comming next. "The ArchAndroid" walk in many different genres but never loses its identity, its mastery. Janelle Monáe's album is one of the best albums I've ever heard and much more. Expand
  43. Dec 19, 2013
    perfect...this record is pure magic you will get moved in a total different magical place when you hear this..( and this actually happens in every janelle monae's project)she creates her own world in her records..such a great artist

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. The result is a dizzying fusion, marked by its lofty ambition and stunning central performance.
  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. 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.