The ArchAndroid has landed. In other words, concept artist Janelle Monae will appear in Los Angeles later next month as she serves as a support act for the Red Hot Chili Peppers on their US tour. In addition, this year Monae plans to continue the story of her alter-ego Cindi Mayweather with a film and new album.
Known for her iconic style and plot-driven albums, Monae first appeared on the scene in 2006 on Outkast’s Idlewild, though she only recently achieved mainstream success with her 2010 album The ArchAndroid, whose first single, “Tightrope,” was performed for President Obama earlier this month. Other notable singles such as “Cold War” and “Many Moons” earned her comparisons to Lady Gaga and Lauryn Hill. To further emphasize her genre-mixing abilities, she was also featured in the indie pop band Fun’s music video “We Are Young” earlier this year.
In addition to combining different music styles, Monae also manages to blend intricate storylines into her music. A huge sci-fi nerd, Monae enjoys using her songs to tell the story of Cindy Mayweather, an android from the year 2719 who breaks the law by falling in love with a human, Sir Anthony Greendown. As they run from the heartless android out to deconstruct Mayweather, the star-crossed lovers spend most of the songs on Monae’s albums exploring human emotion and self-acceptance.
In 2012, Monae will bring even more details on the suspenseful, unique romance. A planned film version of the currently unfinished story will shed more light on some of the obscure details of the plot, while a new album will hopefully serve to develop the secondary ArchAndroid storyline, which suggests that Mayweather is the savior of the androids who reside in the fictional Metropolis. Though a different approach to music making is certainly welcome in the repetitive era of the 21st century, Monae’s sci-fi elements can become a bit confusing and a little elaboration sooner rather than later would be welcome.
For those who are doing fine with their interpretation of the story and can’t wait to get more of Mayweather, Monae will be performing live at the Staples Center on February 26 and 27 as she launches her US tour.