Tag Archives: The Roots

New John Legend Album

AKIE BERMISS: Where do we begin? The new John Legend record is called “Wake Up.” The album is basically a collection of covers, all of them (save one original) from the 60s and 70s. There are a lot of good things about this record. The song selection, for starters, is positively excellent. Each song is a classic tune — though many are songs today’s generation have probably never heard before. The combination of the Roots and John Legend is a match I’ve long thought would be a good one. Trouble is: the album just isn’t that good.

DAVE TOMAR: The best thing that I can say about the record is that it aspires to bring these songs to the attention of a new generation of listeners. And should the record be successful, I think this will be a great accomplishment. But I can’t see any reason why I’d want to hear John Legend sing something that I could hear Marvin Gaye or Bill Withers sing. Continue reading

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The Roots’ New Album

STEPHON JOHNSON: How I Got Over might be the first Roots album since Things Fall Apart where fans’ opinions aren’t divded. It’s about time.

AKIE BERMISS: I absolutely agree with Stephon — this is definitely the best and most consistent record The Roots have put out since Things Fall Apart. Its been over a decade and, at last, they’ve returned to the musical heights they were once so regularly visiting. What are the elements of a great album? What makes this better than Phrenology, The Tipping Point, Game Theory, and Rising Down? Where does this album (which is a far-cry stylistically from classic Roots records like Illadelph Halflife and Do You Want More?) bridge a connection to the great 90s heydey of the Roots? Well for one thing: they sound like a band. For another, Black Thought is rapping like he gives a damn about rapping. And finally, the music is original it is The Roots pandering to the art of the craft — and not The Roots pandering to divergent tastes of popular radio.

They are firing on all cylinders. Continue reading

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Alicia Keys

AKIE BERMISS: When I say Alicia Key’s new The Element Of Freedom album is un-listenable, I am NOT exaggerating. The album is an unmitigated disaster of musical mediocrity. Its not that the songs themselves are horrible, per se. Each one is a nice, bland, soft-rock-pop single on its own. Each could be the end-credits music for an early-90s action-romance (read: Speed). But put them all back-to-back and they amount to some of the most uninteresting, soporific music I have heard all year.

STEPHON JOHNSON: I agree that Alicia Keys’ new album is dull, conservative and safe. But we’ve known that about Keys for a while now. The Element of Freedom doesn’t have the element of surprise. Clive Davis probably likes it that way. Continue reading

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