by The Roots
After what some might call a slight mis-step (2004's The Tipping Point) The Roots are back with a record that is just as brilliant as their magnum opus, 2002's Phrenology.
The energy on this record is palpable as the band hustles its way through a stylistically diverse set of songs. Unlike most hip-hop acts, the Roots play their own instruments. The songs are anchored by Ahmir Thompson's tight funky drumming. On Game Theory his snare drum snaps so loudly (how tight is that snare head anyway?), especially on the elbow-throwing "Here I Come", that it nearly overshadows everything else.
This is one heavy album which features more guitar than we've heard from the band before and, it's heavy in a figurative way as well: the hangman on the cover, the anger and paranoia that rapper Black Thought puts forth. And don't forget that beautiful, ultra low end bass. You can feel it.
I think the record reflects perfectly the tailspin that this country finds itself in. My guess is that if Bill Clinton was still in charge, (remember diplomacy? remember $2.00 a gallon gas? remember the good times?) the band may not have as much urgency and fire. But fire and urgency they have to spare and, I guess that is the only thing I can thank the current administration for.
by The Roots