Thursday, August 12th, 2010

The Roots ft. John Legend – The Fire



Anthony Easton: That’s some old school Earth Wind and Fire shit, ain’t it?

Jonathan Bogart: Classicism in the service of thoughtfulness is no vice.

Chuck Eddy: Get the idea they’re aiming for an “dark anthemic rock” feel here. Nothing wrong with that, in itself — in fact, the same instinct has helped plenty of hip-hop over the years, including maybe a Roots track or two (e.g. “The Seed 2.0.”). And I like the Gothic background chanting here okay. But otherwise, their idea of what makes rock anthemic doesn’t seem to intersect much with mine.

Alfred Soto: These guys have the right intentions, but they’re responsible for some of the most average music in recent years. This time not even their innate musicality redeems a plodding beat. Don’t take my word for it: check out a dozing John Legend.

Martin Skidmore: Their jazz-funk approach to hip hop has never really been my thing. The beat here is solid, and I quite like Legend’s admittedly rather anonymously singing on the chorus. The rapping has some force, and some clever rhymes, but it feels a touch medium-paced, and Legend is not the right person to bring the fire.

Al Shipley: I prefer the sample of Legend’s “Again” that precedes this track on How I Got Over, but either way he’s a good enough combo with The Roots that I’m looking forward to their upcoming album-length combination. Instead of going for a neo-soul radio single along the lines of previous Badu and Saadiq-assisted efforts, this goes well with the brooding indie rock vibe of the album, with Legend having proven on the Jeff Buckley homage “Show Me” that he’s, well, got a pretty convincing white man voice.

David Raposa: As someone whose appreciation of John Legend diminishes when he opts to SING instead of sing, I have to admit his down-tempo appearance here is a total wet blanket. With the Roots ably getting down on the TCB tip, a little over-emotive grandstanding would’ve done this tune wonders.

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