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CD review: The Roots

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Shea Serrano

The Details

The Roots 'undun'
Four stars

The Roots are smart, and they spend the entirety of studio album No. 11 (!)—undun, a thicket of funk and fervent storytelling—flexing their intellect. The narrative outlines the existential dread of protagonist Redford Stephens, a semi-fictional character wrestling with the most basic, heartbreaking of dichotomies: understanding the proper way to live but not fully committing to pursuing it. The light swing of “I Remember,” the chunky-guitar swagger of “Stomp,” the feather-light creepiness of standout “Make My” are all dual purpose, serving as both integral stations within the album’s sonicism and as literary device. (There is already talk of undun being stretched into a movie or play). The Roots’ latest is an unhurried, uncompromising body of work, which, at this point, should be about as surprising as the sun rising.

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