13 December 2010

BEST ALBUMS OF 2010: # 5

5. Janelle Monáe - THE ARCHANDROID

Monáe’s full-length debut reminds me of my favorite album of 2009 in its openness and endless possibilities and also ‘cause it’s nuts. Where to begin classifying a sci-fi conceptual piece in two suites that encompasses prime Stevie Wonder soul (“Oh, Maker”), disco boogie (“Locked Inside”), giddy ‘80s electropop (“Wondaland”), reverbed-to-the-max psychedelia (“Mushrooms and Roses”), hot swing-band jazz (“Come Alive (War of the Roses)”), haunted folk (“57821”) and Prince-like new wave (the Of Montreal-assisted “Make the Bus”)? And that’s not even mentioning the orchestral interludes, the Philip K. Dick tribute or the genre-defying singles (“Cold War” and “Tightrope”). Altogether it astonishes, it nearly overwhelms and it’s as precocious and promising a full-length debut as fellow delightful nutjob Nellie McKay’s Get Away From Me.

Favorite Tracks: Wondaland, Cold War, 57821, Tightrope

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