Funky, electronic, futuristic, soulful, a woman version of Prince; descriptions of Janelle Monae abound in the musical world and I don’t think a single one does her justice. She is able to make all of these fairly stereotypical genre-tized labels blend together into her own version of R&B that encompasses a much wider variety of styles than any “classic” R&B album before.
Her voice alone has an air about it, lofty and robotic but with coldness that punctures the music she is making with its sharpness. She incorporates her voice perfectly and uses it as an instrument more than the average singer. Sometimes the vocals are an after thought to an album with so much dedication put into the musical side, but Monae makes her voice a part of everything equally.
Above all, this is the kind of album that should be danced to. All the meticulous production and work that Monae put into this album all was done with the end goal of making an album that can be played for the sole purpose to get down. She has been compared to Kanye West with her perfectionist attitude and you can hear that all over the album. The way her creative little nuances appear all over the album, from a hint of strings, to the synth effects she uses to just the whole way the project is brought together, the album was made with the best equipment and with the highest level of attention.
Besides all the production, it is a concept album that focuses on some pretty serious ideas like racism and prejudice in a light but not joking manner. The album is interspersed with interludes about droids and robots being treated like real people and the reactions from other humans, some positive and some extremely negative. Clearly the concept is fairly ridiculous, but hidden in the ridiculousness lies a very serious issue of racism that still needs quite a lot of addressing in todays day and age. Monae tried to do a lot with this album, and instead of seeming like a flustered, over stretched project she has created an album of special magnificence worth returning to again and again.