Saturday, September 16, 2006

GAME ON

Imagine a disc timeline that went...

Do You Want More?!!!??!
Illadelph Halflife
Things Fall Apart
Phrenology

short break to deal with Mailk B's rehab

And then...
Game Theory

I't Earth-2, and The Album I Dare Not Speak Its Name never existed.

That's how I feel right now.

Shit. This is fuckin' HOT.

"False Media" comes from a strange trip-hop zone when Black Thought comes out full force on top of every instrument ?uestlove knows how to play. "Game Theory" starts a little easy and then transforms into an all-out sonic attack of awesome. Suddenly, I'm listening to Things Fall Apart but Rock HARDER. On "Don't Feel Right" ?uestlove and the band funk it up, throw in a hot female alt-R&B chorus and continue to force Black Thought to keep the fuck up. Then he gives him a break and funks it even more. "In The Music" catches a light sneeze on percussion, Knight Riders the guitars, blows out the chorus with spooky effects and demands some serious rhyming. "Take it There" boom baps on beats and rhymes, showing off that rolling vocal rythm that pulls you along (even if the spoken word breakdown is a bit... there. More wierd guitars and piano. "Here I Come" sounds like what would've happened if hiphop had embraced metal, instead of the other way around, using some of its elements to augment a rap song. "Long Time" embraces... INXS-style warm dance/funk/blues. It's weird and works.

The biggest weakness with the album is sameness. After a while, ?uestlove and the band seem like they could use a jolt — a different energy to shift the feel. Part of thew problem is Black Thought's lack of dynamism. He's a great writer, a great rhymer, but not the greatest emoter. Thankfully, Malik B and a couple other performers add some vocal switchups. They mix in other tempos, and I like a number of the little flourishes, but there's no song that really goes out there. That sounds like something new. The cohesiveness of the album becomes a bit of a limitation.

However, you get at least half an album of pretty, truly, awesome. An album that sounds better louder. Something to get pumped up for a night at the Nuyorican or a day of marching or an evening of sitting around smoking up.

The Roots are angry again. They have something to prove again. They're energized again. They're good again.

Except on Earth-2, where they were never crap.

2 Comments:

Blogger Kenneth Belasco said...

I'm a bit supprised that Earth-2 The Roots recorded "Phrenology" though perhaps Earth-2 "Phrenology" was a tighter album!

6:25 PM  
Blogger Justin J. Fox said...

Phrenology is pretty good!

It's Tipping Point that is shit.

2:56 PM  

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