Janelle Monáe Metropolis: The Chase Suite

Almost a year after trickling out her jarringly ambitious concept EP to only the most ardent internet foragers, Atlanta-based genre smashing R&B upstart Janelle Monáe finally gives her Metropolis masterwork the proper mass vetting it deserves. Repackaged and re-released in extended form, The Chase Suite draws listeners through the first movement of Monáe’s sonic dedication to the legendary 1927 silent flick, a mesmerizing showcase of musical futurism that throws wide-ranging stylistic influences into a cinematic blender to come up with the perfect balance between advanced creativity and a solid dance floor aesthetic. Using the propulsive rock backbeat, retro synths and crunchy guitar riff of "Violet Stars Happy Hunting” as her launch pad, the self-fashioned cyber girl exudes intensity in both sound and voice, tackling everything from classically-influenced vocal dynamics to robotic lyrical flows, with heavy nods to Outkast along the way. The two bonus cuts tacked on at the end offer more quantity than quality but the original five cuts will no doubt leave you pining for Metropolis’ return. (Bad Boy)