Janelle Monae, an eccentric Kansas City native is turning heads and making tremendous strides in the entertainment industry with her sultry voice and futuristic style. After notable appearances on the Idlewild soundtrack she is now coming into her own, with her debut album, Metropolis Suite I of IV: The Chase, in which she takes us into a place and time not yet ventured connecting her material with experiences of her past with the sound of tomorrow.
In the introduction, “March of The Wolfmaster” the way in which she provides a brief storyline for her album is amazing, giving names for the character that she portrays as well as a brief history. She describes a time, metaphorically, where Cyber people and humans exist together, but a love between the two is forbidden. But a Cyber girl Cindy Mayweather has found love in the forbidden species.
In “Violent Stars/Happy Hunting!” Janelle elaborates on the crime of forbidden love from the eyes of little Cindy. This track is brilliantly explicit and metaphoric in the way she describes the emotions of the “star crossed lovers” and the ridicule they faced from their peers of their own groups. But it is with her creative use of metaphors, depiction of unconditional love and her unique sound that she truly captures the audience.
“Many Moons” is a continuation of the previous track in which she expands on her discontent for societal norms and rules but with a rap-like style. Extremely brilliant it is.
Displaying her vast vocal range, Janelle takes on an operatic sound as she slows down the pace of the EP with “Cybertronic Purgatory.” She gives another style that shows her vocal power and versatility in music and sings of the love between the two outlaws without regards to anyone but the two’s hearts.
“Are we really living or just walking dead now?” is one of the many metaphors Janelle uses to describe the circumstance she battles with conforming to the standards of her own Cyber society as little Cindy Mayweather. The quote is from “Sincerely Jane“ a truly uniquely and brilliantly written, composed, and vocally performed song. It is most difficult to listen to this track and not feel some sort of connection; it is hard to not, in some way, relate it to your own life experiences from peer pressure to unjust prejudices.
The conclusion left me feeling a sense of sorrow for the poor little Cindy because in many ways I could relate to much of what she experienced and it is always difficult to sustain when other’s ignorance overshadows their ability to reason.
Metropolis is truly a must have in any music collection; Janelle mixes a reminiscence of the past with the sounds of the future. She is truly becoming a force to be reckoned with in the music industry with her impeccable creativity and ear grabbing sound and vocals.
Download: “Sincerely Jane”