The Bottom Line
- Wild Creativity.
- Exreme Originality.
- Excellent Singing.
- A Fresh Concept.
- Only Seven Songs, Including an Instrumental.
- The Last Two Songs Don't Fit the Album's Theme.
- A Futuristic Soap Opera.
- A Forbidden Love Story.
- An Action-Adventure Tale.
Guide Review - Janelle Monae - 'Metropolis: The Chase Suite (Special Edition)'
The EP's first five songs, which follow Cindi's journey, are completely brilliant. Janelle's singing is excellent, particularly on the funky "Many Moons" and the beautiful "Sincerely, Jane." The album's hard to categorize, though: it's definitely not traditional R&B, but more of a mix of alternative pop, Soul and hip-hop, with a few R&B harmonies mixed in. Imagine if OutKast's Andre 3000 was a woman and could sing as well as he raps and you get the idea. In fact, Metropolis was co-executive produced by the other half of OutKast, Antwan "Big Boi" Patton.
The part where the album suffers slightly is the two songs tacked on at the end, "Mr. President" and "Smile." Not that the songs themselves are bad - quite the opposite - but this is a concept album, and they're completely contrary to the concept. After five songs of a futuristic soap opera, the album totally switches gears with, "Mr. President," a very earthly social commentary track about hard economic times: "Dear Mr. President, I hope you got the letter I sent/A dollar only goes so far, and we need health care, no matter who we are," she sings. The vocals, lyrics and meaning are all appreciated, but the song sticks out like a sore thumb. So does the final track, "Smile," where Janelle's vocals float hauntingly over very little instrumentation. "Mr. President" and "Smile," while brilliant, were bad choices for inclusion on the EP.