ALYSSA FAVREAU, AUTHOR OF JANELLE MONÁE’S THE ARCHANDROID, WITH A FOUR-HOUR MIX OF SONGS AND ARTISTS JUST FOR YOU.
Welcome to ArchAndroid week on the 33 1/3 blog!
Trying to fit all of the musical, literary, and cinematic influences that came together to create Janelle Monáe’s concept album The ArchAndroid into one 33 1/3 has been a fascinating, if difficult, project. The story of Cindi Mayweather—runaway android wanted for the crime of loving a human and destined for messianic greatness as the ArchAndroid—is rich in a way that defies distillation. The story can unfurl itself in a thousand configurations, coming to mean something different to every listener. Articulating what the album has meant to me as a fan and as a scholar, as a critic, queer woman, and science fiction lover, has been remarkably rewarding.
In an effort to touch on a few things that didn’t make it into the book, this coming week will feature a few different things: a look back at Monáe’s previous works—the demo The Audition and the Metropolis EP—and how they informed her first full-length album; a discussion of how Cindi’s story touches on the idea of utopia, dystopia, and the posthuman; and extended interviews with “Tightrope” and “Cold War” music video director Wendy Morgan, and Of Montreal’s Kevin Barnes, a frequent collaborator of Monáe’s.
Before all of that, however, I’m starting us off with a playlist. A four-hour companion to the book, the mix is full of the album’s songs, their inspirations, other music mentioned in the book, and a few fun extras.
Enjoy, and see you tomorrow!
Alyssa Favreau is a Tiohtià:ke/Montreal-based writer. Her work has appeared in Hazlitt, Autostraddle, Them, Popular Science, and the Los Angeles Times, among others. She also cohosts the Broad Science podcast.