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The Not So Legendary

So last week the Roots released their new single “Don’t Sound Right” and played two big shows at Radio City Music Hall. I would take this to mean that their new album Game Theory[1] will be coming out soon, but they may decide to pull a Cam’ron and wait until the moment is a bit less opportune. At any rate, it’s likely we’ll have a new Roots CD some time between now and the end of the year.

Not that I’m holding my breath or anything. If “Don’t Sound Right” is any indication, Game Theory may not be poised to make much of a splash regardless of when it’s released. As far as lead singles are concerened, it’s not bad or anything, but it’s definitely not the kind of single you release when your last album was the decidedly lackluster The Tipping Point and it’s being speculated that your signing to Def Jam is either as a tax write-off or part of some convoluted marketing scheme.

At the very least they could’ve figured out which dumpster Cody ChestNUTS is sleeping in and gotten him back to singing. “The Seed 2.0,” from way back in 2002, was the last time they seemed to have had much of a spark. It even made a certain degree of inroads on crackety-crack radio[2], which is what I listen to in my car, on the outside chance that “The Rooster” might come on. Or what about D’Angelo? I can’t imagine he’s up to much these days.

I know ?uestlove, has been very adamant about the fact that the Roots aren’t being pressured to make a hit with this album, but I wonder if Jay-Z wasn’t just telling them that because he knew they weren’t going to have a hit anyway. To hear ?uestionmark tell it, this is going to be an album full of dark, difficult songs like “Water” from Phrenology. But I don’t really get a dark, difficult vibe from “Don’t Sound Right.” It just sounds kind of half-assed and uncommitted.

Will Game Theory really turn out to be the brooding masterpiece ?uestforfire has been hyping it up as in interviews[3], or just another Tipping Point? Based on this first single, I’d have to go with the latter.

[1] Wasn’t this thing recorded-in-full back when they were still on Geffen?

[2] They’ll play rap music on crackety-crack radio, but only if the rapper is white. “The Seed 2.0″ is the only song I can think of played by an all-black group that got spins on crackety-crack stations.

[3] Admit it, you giggled a bit when ?uestlove suggested that this was the Roots’ Kid A. But then you just thought it was kind of sad.

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