I’m probably going to catch a lot of flak over this but I’m not the biggest fan of this album, although the premise is a good one. When I heard about it I picked up sight unseen. I mean come on, The Roots together with 70’s icon Betty Wright? How is that not going to be good? The first time through there were a couple standouts, “Old Songs” and “Whisper in the Wind,” that had me going. Once I decided to play the album front to back, however, I couldn’t do it in one sitting.
The album has a very dated sound. I had expected the music to have a 70’s influence to it but still retain some of the head nod that I attribute to The Roots sound. The album has more of a disco soul feel to it, as if they tried to emulate the sound of the 70’s rather than letting some influence creep into the music. I’m sure that this will appeal to an older group of listeners not familiar with The Roots sound. Betty also comes across as slightly bitter and rather abrupt at times, as if she is chiding the youth about their ways and romanticizing her era. I usually don’t take issue with this at all, but I can’t get past railing against how this new generation does music and then cutting a track with Lil Wayne in the same breath. The album could have been better if the guest spots would have stuck with performers in her age bracket and kept the motif of her praising her generation of song writing. I don’t know if the inclusion of Joss Stone, Snoop Dogg, and Lil Wayne was to try and draw younger ears to the album, but out of those three only Joss holds it down. Snoop and Wayne seem like puzzle pieces forced into place rather than seeing if they even fit into the picture.
Maybe it’s a generational thing that this young whippersnapper just doesn’t understand; maybe I’m just missing the point. Whatever it is, I’m just not feeling this album as much as I thought I would. I can get down with a couple tracks but not enough to say that I’m glad I picked up the album. I’m sure my parents would like it. If anyone out there needs a gift for an older music lover just get at me, I’ll send you my copy.-One Mic
There you have it! Hmm...maybe I won't be copping it after all. Stay tuned for the review from yours truly on The Roots' newest studio album, "undun." BestInTheMix: you hear it, we live it!