[Five Deadly Everythings]

7 Songs Meme pt. 2 – The Roots’ "Rising Up"

Posted in hip-hop, music by Jef on June 28, 2008

(Tagged by NotNerdyEnough:

List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they’re not any good, but they must be songs you’re really enjoying now, shaping your spring summer. Post these instructions in your blog along with your seven songs. Then tag seven other people to see what they’re listening to.)

The Roots: “Rising Up”

When the Roots performed this song on The Late Show, host David Letterman dropped his front and had a genuine “Oh Shit” moment. He enthusiastically shook every band member’s hand and shook his head in disbelief. The Roots filled the stage that night, and for this song they needed to. There’s so much going on in this track, from multiple drum kits to bicycle bell noises to the heft of Chrissette Michelle’s vocals to the weightlessness of Wale’s flow. (On a sidenote: Black Thought makes riding scatter-shot beats like this sound so. fucking. easy.)

“Rising Up” stands out as the one bright spot on a supremely dark album (2008’s “Rising Down”). The rest of the LP is a collection of frustration, cynicism, rap songs that sound like they were written at 4:30 a.m. by dudes who been sleepy since midnight. The album is claustrophic and restless, cranky even, and because of that, unpleasant and downright boring at points.

But “Rising Up” closes the album beautifully, following “Lost Desire” (wonder what that’s about) and “The Show” (a song about the exhaustion of relentlessly touring) with a fun, loose-themed song that’s pure fun and reminds you why you don’t mind shelling out $40 everytime the Roots roll into your city.

That the Roots bookended the album with the dissonance of paranoid opener “Rising Down” and the harmonies of hopeful closer “Rising Up” lets me think this dark album was a one-off. They got the shit off their chests, but now “The Show” must go on. Here’s to the next album hopefully continuing the upwards rise.

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