The following story was originally published in the Sept. 11, 2008 issue of The Gramblinite.
A star is born and the gate has been opened to welcome we the inhabitants of planet earth to the digital delight of Janelle Monae’ as she unveils the sound of things to come with “The Chase: Suite One” from the epic tales of Metropolis!
She is quite similar to another familiar character in American folklore that delivered us into an alternate reality of self-reflection, hope and fantasy. Our heroine hails from Kansas, but instead of merely clicking her heels three times to go home, Monae’ will require us all to stomp our feet, clap our hands and dance away our pain and doubt into freedom!
While traveling on her path to completely change soul music, she meets some interesting friends while finding her way through the ruins of pre-millennium Atlantis, Georgianus that was ultimately destroyed from the over indulgence of sounds that screamed lust, greed, and the abuse of undeserved power.
With the mission in their spirit to restore the good that was lost in the land, Monae’ and friends are labeled as bandits who form an independent resistance called the Wondaland Arts Society. Expressing their mantra to the masses was not as easy as it may have seemed when evil is still abound from the wickedness of “the industry’s” hand.
Help soon arrived from a “good witch” of sorts! When she is encountered by “Daddy Fatsacs- Big Boi of the Almighty OutKast and vice lord of all Atl-ienz” he invites Ms. Monae’ to speak on the Purple Ribbon presents: Got Purp?, Vol. 2 and Idlewild movie soundtrack decrees. Her contributions to these two amendments included features and collaborations such as, “Time Will Reveal,” “Lettin’ Go,” “Call The Law,” “In Your Dreams” and “Morris Brown,” which proved her a standout talent destined to restore soul music to its rightful place for decades to come!
While continuing their travels, word began to spread about a savior of soul who was off to see “The Wizard” as she and her crew followed the platinum brick road! This journey had now led them into the musical arsenal of Bad Boy Worldwide where the legendary Sean “Diddy“ Combs has confirmed the brain, heart, bravery and innovation of the team that has committed themselves to unleashing their cyber-soul movement throughout the universe!
The result is Metropolis Suite 1: The Chase, an interesting introduction into the intergalactic spirit of The Wondaland Arts Society, frontlined by Monae’ and their tales of rebellious love, as told in “Violet Stars, Happy Hunting;” freedom anthems like “Many Moons;” cries of desire with “Cybertronic Purgatory;” observations of life lessons and experience expressed in “Sincerely, Jane;” the humble call for change in “Mr. President;” and heartfelt serenades of optimism in “Smile.”
The sound palette used to create this masterpiece for a new frontier in hip-hop soul is achieved by truly capturing a vast acoustic and electric variety of sound, scenes and emotion within every track, by reaching for every past reference of what we thought the future would sound like and put into its present designated perspective.
By only letting us peek into the porthole of Metropolis, Monae’ and company have taken the 21st century into their own hands with their cyber-soul movement and reminded us what the force of music is supposed to feel like when we accept the fact that imagination changes nations.