The ArchAndroid dropped in May 2010, and had good reviews and a solid enough release.
A little over a year later, Fun released the single “We Are Young.”
Monae’s big hit as guest vocalist was in Fun’s best song (fight me. wait, is this even debated?), including appearing in the music video for a hot second.
Suddenly, this song was eeeeverywhere, from commercials to radio to GLEE. And suddenly, so was Monáe.
She was singing anthems, doing promos for March Madness, getting nominated for a Grammy, walking red carpets and talk show stages, etc. Within the year she was the new Covergirl.
Monáe had been building her music and style for years, and she wasn’t going to be a flash-in-the-pan. The sophomore slump is a definite real thing, but Monáe’s second LP* had a several-year-strong foundation, and wasn’t going to fail.
Up next, The Electric Lady, one of the best albums in a pretty damn fine year for music.
*The Chase Suite’s original release was five songs and under 20 minutes, and was, at least at the time, an EP.