I had felt uneasy submitting my year-end lists without giving a good listen to Janelle Monae's The ArchAndroid, which graced a good deal of albums and tracks lists. Turns out, it wouldn't have made any difference to mine.
Monae is interesting, yet her album is a sloppy heap of half-baked ideas and grandiose ambitions without finesse or follow-through. Songs range from staid orchestral crescendo to glib showtune schlock to bass-heavy R&B to spacey psychedelia. None of it's that memorable, and the album suffers from a serious identity crisis.
And, wait, she's an android or something?
Monae has talent and a great voice. She just needs someone stronger and more focused to steer the ship.