Music News

The Roots: How I Got Over

Artist: The Roots
Title: How I Got Over
Release date: June 22
Label: Def Jam

As we inch closer to the midway point of 2010, the fine gentlemen over at one of Up on the Sun's favorite blogs, Electric Mustache, have posted their top 10 records of the year. They've got two lists up there, one for each of the dudes running the site. I like that one of the guys has the Liars' record and the Surfer Blood record on there. But Sleigh Bells? Whoa, that is one shitty band.

Anyway, those two listen to a lot of music. I wonder what they think of the new Roots record, How I Got Over. I think it's pretty cool, and a lot better than what I'd expected -- easily the best hip-hop record I've listened to this year.

This probably isn't news to people familiar with The Roots (which doesn't include me), but this is one whip-crackingly great rhythm section. I could listen to The Roots' drummer play all day long -- pretty badass. And though I don't usually care about "socially conscious" popular music (generally, I think that if you're all about your message, then your music's going to suffer; that's why there never has been and never will be a good Christian rock act), The Roots offer a pleasant alternative to the usual pablum we must all deal with in mainstream hip-hop.

I certainly love that The Roots are an actual band creating hip-hop. It sounds so much more interesting to me than does sampled and digitally rendered hip-hop, and I wonder why more hip-hop acts don't do it the way The Roots do it. These guys are able to color their hip-hop with soul (both old-school and contemporary) and even some jazz to sound like the most dynamic hip-hop band going.

And they get extra credit for making the normally execrable Joanna Newsom sound pretty good, on the collaboration "Right On." 

Best song: "Dear God 2.0," a collab with Monsters of Folk
Rotation: Medium
I'd rather listen to: Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings
Grade: B+ 

"Nothing Not New" is a yearlong project in which New Times editorial operations manager Jay Bennett, a 41-year-old music fan and musician, will listen only to music released in 2010. Each Monday through Friday, he will listen to one new record (no best ofs, reissues, or concert recordings) and write about it. Why? Because in the words of his editor, Martin Cizmar, he suffers from "aesthetic atrophy," a wasting away of one's ability to embrace new and different music as one ages. Read more about this all-too-common ailment here.

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