Album review: Janelle Monáe - Metropolis: The chase

Album review: Janelle Monáe - Metropolis: The chase | Random J Pop

There's this girl. You may or may not have heard of her. Her name is Janelle Monáe and to say she's a breath of fresh air into the music game would be a complete understatement. Think the originality and genre blurring funk and styles of OutKast and Gnarls Barkley and you're almost on track to what Janelle Monáe's about.

Janelle's voice (in my eyes and to my ears) is amazing. Sounding like a seasoned soul singer from the 60s. Her vocals over the harsh and frenetic beats sonically shouldn't work, but somehow it does and it adds to her allure. Whenever she sings you just want to hear more because of how great she sounds. It's crazy to think Janelle was 23 when she put this set out, when she sounds like she's been in the game her whole life! There is something really rich about her voice which just resonates and helps sell the songs brilliantly.

"Violet stars happy hunting" is a cracker of a song. The old school swing style is guaranteed to get you moving and the hook is as catchy as hell. Even if you don't get what she's singing about, you will find yourself bopping your heading and giving it the ♪ Doo-doo-doo! Doo-doo-doo-doooo-dooo-do-dooo!! ♪ It looks a mess in writing, but trust me. When you hear it, it'll stick in your head and refuse to leave.

"Many moons" follows in the footsteps of "Violet stars happy hunting" by marrying 60's swing with hip-hop undertones. Again, this sounds very much like an OutKast song - with an unconventional beat that seems hard to catch in places, but sticks a couple of minutes in. The song oozes originality and Janelle's operatic runs are hot. So many different genre's and styles get fused into this song, yet they all unify so well.

"Sincerely Jane" has Janelle once again fusing old skool 60's big band with operatic undertones, but in a much more streamlined fashion with less emphasis on hip hop and break beats. The song is no less stunning for it and those who perhaps find "Violet stars" and "Many moons" too much to handle, they'll dig this. It's certainly more conventional and easier to latch onto, as sonically this is the most simple song on the album.

Album review: Janelle Monáe - Metropolis: The chase | Random J Pop

Those who manage to pick up the special edition will have access to a couple of extra tracks. They don't really fit into the conceptual theme of the original songs and are much more generic and straight up soul in terms of sound, but it means you get to hear more of Miss Monáe, which is by no means a bad thing. Plus they showcase her vocals much better than the original songs due to Janelle not putting on the voice of a character or narrator.

"Mr. President" is the kind of song Lauryn Hill would put out if she wasn't such a crazy ass bitch. Real smooth and soulful. The likes of Marvin and Stevie would be proud. The song talk is of course about the president and the state of America and the world today. The great thing about the song is that it doesn't feature cringe worthy lyrics or feel condescending due to it's sing-a-long style bounce and Janelle's syrupy vocals. That's the only word I can think of to describe how she sounds on this song.

Janelle's cover of Chaplin's "Smile" is absolutely stunning. If by this point in the album you were not wowed by Janelle's vocals you will be once you hear this. The song is beautifully sung. Janelle infuses it with so much soul, passion and emotion that you can't help but be moved. Every time I listen to this song I'm just stunned by the beauty of it.

Janelle Monáe is an amazing talent and Metropolis is an conceptual album done right and an essential purchase for every music lover. Janelle Monáe has the potential to be a huge phenomenon. But being signed to P. Diddy's Bad boy records may stifle her. Hopefully not, because I'd love to hear the remaining suites. If you're looking for something new and original - cop this shit. Janelle put more into a 4 track EP than most bitches put into full length studio albums.


Album highlights:
■ Violet stars happy hunting 🔥
■ Many moons 🔥
■ Sincerely Jane
■ Smile 🏆 J's fave


  1. nice spotlight on my girl, monae. she's such a true artist with a distinct, interesting sound and something to say. it's sad that i have to listen to bitches like ke$ha on the radio instead of people with actual talent. but people are getting up on janelle and soon enough, she'll get her due despite diddy's influence.

  2. She is definitely the most amazing singer I have ever heard. I am so excited for her and all that she will do to change the music industry.

    Go Janelle!

    I love you

  3. I'm not sure why you didn't give the album a 10, because Metropolis is on point! That being said, 9/10 aint too shabby. :P

    "Sincerely Jane" is truly the shit (along with everything else). It's very theatrical, but not in a bad way. And you hit the nail on the head with "Mr. President" when you mentioned it sounded like a Lauryn Hill joint. Absolutely love the song.

    Can't wait for the ArchAndroid!

  4. [To the ginger boy down in front...]

    Yes, you. Shut up! I gave the album a 9 didn't I?

    I'm reserving the 10 in the hopes I can give it to The Archandroid :)

  5. I just ordered this!!!! ^_^ OMG i gotta wait for it to come from the US though :(
    Hope it doesnt take as long as my J-Pop from Japan lol
    J you got me hooked on her now! :P

  6. have the album for £5. Why didn't you just buy it from there?


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