When Janelle Monáe made her official debut (after releasing a previous EP which she now tries to ignore as it wasn't from her fully formed self, this tuxedoed, quiffed star we see before us these days) in 2007 with the first part of her Metropolis series, Metropolis: Suite I (The Chase), she stayed somewhat under the radar.

Here was a pretty exciting new artist, inspired by Fritz Lang and Logan's Run mixing funk, soul, rock (every genre under the sun really) that didn't really make much of a splash. It wasn't until the continuation of the series, The ArchAndroid was released in 2010 that people started to sit up and take notice. Hints of John Barry orchestration here, touches of James Brown there, a healthy dose of Michael Jackson and David Bowie all over the place; she finally managed to capture the hearts of the public and critics with her story of a messianic android who defied the rules of Metropolis by falling in love with a human and, as a result, is sent back in time to stop a secret society from putting an end to freedom and love.

The story of Cindi Mayweather was not just a great example of Afrofuturism akin to that produced by the likes of Sun Ra and Parliament but thematically tackled notions of self-liberation, acceptance, and, as the disc jockey on 'Good Morning Midnight' preaches, "love, not hate."

The Electric Lady picks up where The ArchAndroid left off, with Mayweather taking up a position similar to that of Bokonon in Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle, an unseen rebel leader who is hunted by those in power and revered by everyone else though without the utterly confusing mantra of Bokonism of course. Stylistically, as well as thematically, The Electric Lady is similar to its predecessor, with Monáe using a vast array of genres to create some completely infectious tracks, like a chef with a well-stocked spice rack, where a pinch of electro-pop or 50s soul can completely change the feel of a track in an instant.

With guest appearances from the likes of Erykah Badu, Solange Knowles, Miguel, and even Prince, this is an album that is completely jam packed and never really seems to let go. There are 19 tracks here and not once does it really feel like it's stalling for time, even with radio skit interludes which give a nice little glimpse into the world of Metropolis, mainly tackling the idea of "the other" and "the acceptance of the other" with one caller, admittedly a bit too on the nose with his parody of anti-gay protesters, declaring cyborg love is just wrong. 'Look Into My Eyes' does at the start appear to be a carbon copy of a few of the slower tracks on The ArchAndroid but then transforms itself into a Roger Moore era Bond theme-esque beauty. Other than that one minor misstep, it becomes almost baffling that in its full run time it can be so packed with tune after tune.

Lead single from the album, 'Dance Apocalyptic', kicks off with a ukulele riff and pushes it up to 11 from there, making it impossible not to dance along to regardless of where you are. 'It's Code', although one of the weaker tracks, features psychedelic guitars, Vangelis-esque synths, and Monáe's beautifully soulful voice creating something that sounds as though Funkadelic ended up soundtracking a much more hopeful version of Blade Runner. It's this mix of the future and the past that makes Monáe so endearing; everything sounds like it belongs at the time of Cindi Mayweather but heavily rooted in pre-90s pop music. The recruitment of Prince on 'Givin Em What They Love' is testament to this and works well in realising this idea.

The main message throughout the album, and throughout the Metropolis series, is that of equality, particularly of female empowerment and The Electric Lady is loaded with tracks focused around this. 'Ghetto Woman' is one of the most interesting due to how personal it is, especially from a woman who tends to coat her messages in this sci-fi sheen. The track is a tribute to Monae's mother and allows us a glimpse into her life growing up in Kansas City while keeping things as funky as they have been throughout the album.

'The Electric Lady', featuring Solange, is perhaps one of the best "girl power" anthems of the year. Sometimes, the lyrics can get a bit too Hallmark such as on 'Victory', but it's never too overbearing to instil a sense of apathy in the listener; bored due to its unoriginality. In fact, lyrically, the album is extraordinarily strong from start to finish, the highlight, as mentioned earlier, being 'Ghetto Woman'.

Lyrics aside even, the production here is so strong; the classical interpretations of songs on the album in the overtures scattered throughout, the soft harp in 'Victory', the minimal synths giving a sort of Balearic feel to 'What An Experience'. Some may say the album is way too long, and it's unlikely that people will find the time to listen from start to finish so often, but there are so many highlights here that it's incredibly easy to dip your toes into the album at any point and still have a great time with it.

The Electric Lady features so many different styles yet each one is done near perfectly. Moving between genres is seamless and each track is so full of character as a result of this diversity, the exemplary arrangements and, of course, Monáe herself leading the way.

It's easy to see why almost every producer, artist, and critic is hailing Monae as something special. She is the Cindi Mayweather of pop, sent back in time to save us from the risk of banal chart gubbins - so let's follow The Electric Lady to this new land of whip-smart, exciting pop music and rejoice.