All hail the Janelle Monae collaboration. She hasn’t spent all her time being an ArchAndroid – she’s also worked with some excellent producers and created some of the past few years’ best music. She has a knack for turning most tracks she touches to gold; for holding disparate styles together. There were some real surprises – she’s chosen her co-producers well. I’m genuinely surprised “Nerd Girl” and “2012” never got more buzz. The rest are a motley crew.
Jaspects collaborated with Janelle on Broadcasting The Definition (2006) and The Polkadotted Stripe (2009). “Peachtree Blues” is a modern take on the rainy day jazz ballad and offers her the chance to really take off vocally. “2012” is a head trip in a completely different vein – an electric, psychedelic journey through many of the styles Janelle explored on The ArchAndroid.
“Nerd Girl” has an addictive bass line and chorus, and manages to channel the best of early 60’s rock & roll. And the album it’s off of, Jacques Jams, is one of the most original fusions of rock and hip-hop out there. Chester French makes an ideal duet partner – this track is delightful.
“Call The Law” has a catchy New Orleans blues progression. She really has a strength for playing a character in a narrative – it should come as no surprise that she chose to make her debut set of LP from the perspective of a fictional android. Plus she does a good homicidal ex-girlfriend.
“Be Still” is still my favorite track from Sir Lucious Leftfoot – Janelle’s chorus and bridge mix perfectly with one of the most effective and introspective raps Big Boi has ever given us.
And the rare half-miss. B.o.B.’s choice to use Blink 182 era punk rock doesn’t quite mesh with his flow, but there’s a fair bit of soul here.
I feel as though I just found $20 in between the couch cushions.