10th anniversary of the ArchAndroid album : an article to celebrate Janelle Monae’s immortal creativity

Janelle and her majestic golden crown. Picture from Pinterest.

Tomorrow is May 18th 2020. Ten years ago on this day, the born gifted Janelle Monae was releasing an eternal project. The ArchAndroid is and will always be a symbol of joy, revelations, weirdness and majesty. This album has accompanied me during my high school years and made me realized Janelle Monae‘s genius. Janelle Monae as Santigold or Janet Jackson, has transcended the boundaries in the music industry and especially for us black girls and women. From rock to jazz, the project is eclectic. Let’s celebrate and analyze this masterpiece where Janelle affirms that she is a living and glorious mystery.


The ArchAndroid’s album cover. Picture from Pinterest

Like many of you, I first heard about Janelle Monae thanks to the single « Tightrope »(2010). And it’s really a couple of years later, that I really dug into Janelle Monae‘s discography. And the day I listened to The ArchAndroid and the previous album Metropolis (2007) which is also an entire artistic experience, I knew that I was witnessing the birth of new worlds. The ArchAndroid is from A to Z a complete and diverse project. The album is an astral trip, it’s vibrant and deep. It’s the epitome of royalty and luxury. With her golden crown, Janelle is presenting us her world, her mind vision. The ArchAndroid is in a way one of Janelle’s personal testimony. This golden crown on her head, symbolized Janelle’s royal title and her mental world. The Art Deco art trend in the 1920’s is one of the main example. This crown makes me think of the Antic civilizations, Greek and especially Egyptian. As you may know, the Ancient Egypt is often used in popular culture to express grandiosity and untouched magnificence. Those golden armors and clothes, those big divine palaces and micro privileged places, which overhang entire cities and countries around. Like the Atlantis or the Olympus, Janelle is presenting us her own and hidden world, where everybody is allowed and especially where she can be herself with no restrictions. But to enter her own kingdom, Janelle will have to face a lot of inner incertitudes and trivial adventures.

The intro « Suite II Overture » welcomes us in this celestial, tragical and extraordinary trip to an unknown galaxy. Like the beginning of a play, we can hear the applauds at the end of the introduction. Following the song « Dance or Die », a funky and galactic ballad. « Locked Inside » is a declaration of freedom willing and love. It’s a declaration for life and its infinite possibilities. « Cold War » is a total war declaration. Janelle is reminding us to choose a side in this approaching intense war, which will include humans against the unknown of space. « Cold War » is intense, it’s rock, it’s a storm of emotions, doubts and realism. The war is on its way and we will have to choose our side. And Janelle is telling us that her choice is made : she doesn’t belong on this planet. She is the elected one. She is ready to free herself and go back to where she belongs : galaxy. She’s a star, she has her own ecosystem and universe. « Tightrope » is here to signify her alterity. The video clip of the song is strange and takes place in an asylum, where she is circled and control by black hooded entities and where she can’t expressly dance and be happy. « Tightrope » is a proclamation of Janelle’s suffocation in this place where she is seen as too different. On Earth, she can’t be what she wants to be.

We now understand that Janelle’s willing is to free herself from control and normality because she can’t be placed and tamed in a case, she brights too strong for us, humans. The ArchAndroid is an odyssey of Janelle’s travel to escape Earth. It’s an odyssey to her conscious. And we all know a journey for the liberty of ourselves is not easy but it worths the pain and the discoveries on the way. « Come Alive » sounds like Janelle is battling with her inner self, this part of her that doesn’t want to be free and that is too afraid. Seen as a crazy person, Janelle is manifesting her willing to wake up this side of her that will set her free. And the following song « Mushrooms & Roses » is psychedelic and feels like a dream. This is a musical and psychic path. Maybe in an unconscious state of mind, Janelle is dreaming and she is shaping herself from inside. This is such a beautiful song. It’s soft and slow. Her deconstructed and transformed voice is setting the tone : Janelle is not entirely human, she is ready to go. « Mushrooms & Roses » sounds like a trance episode, where we can’t control ourselves but it’s ok, because after this apocalyptic episode, everything will go the right way.

The song « Suite III Overture » as a following interlude is a musical corridor to this astral new world. But the climax is reached with « Wondaland ». « Wondaland » is bucolic and extraterrestrial, it’s magical and out of this world. Her « Wondaland » is the quintessence of her astral travel. She is not on Earth anymore. « 57821 »is the key to this new universe. Janelle is thinking about her ancient life. « BaBopByeYa » is jazzy and theatric. Janelle is calling out her missing love, this eternal love that is going away and escaping her. The love that she has left on Earth maybe. This love, this person or this entity is now way too far to be reach. Only the universe can convey this intergalactic message. This is her last manifestation for this one and only love. This is song is universal, it’s mystical, it’s unique. The album closed on this soothing song, a long one, with a Spanish part. After this song, we can conclude that Janelle has found her right place, whether it’s unconscious or astral, it exists.

The ArchAndroid is unique and special. Janelle Monae is revealing herself to the world and to the universe. She is exploring her own spiritual and mental boundaries and she reveals it to anyone who is capable to understand her energy and desires. Divided between being an human and her alien side growing inside of her, Janelle’s art and alterity is blooming in this marvelous project. A project that have challenged and changed a lot of people. The ArchAndroid is and will always be millenary. Mrs.Monae has created a new world where she is her own Sun and I hope that she will shine forever.


Follow me on Instagram: @pointzeroworld – POINT ZERO WORLD.

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