Wake Up!
  • Genre:RNB
  • Released:22/09/2010
  • Label:Columbia
  • Price:$24.95
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Wake Up!

John Legend & The Roots

Musical powerhouses John Legend & The Roots present Wake Up!, eleven profoundly evocative songs pulled from the soulful music of the 60's and 70's all with an underlying theme of awareness, engagement and consciousness. The album is highlighted with familiar tracks like "Little Ghetto Boy" by Donny Hathaway mixed with more obscure selections like Baby Huey and the Babysitters' "Hard Times". Wake Up! also includes one original composition, John Legend's "Shine," which is featured in the upcoming documentary Waiting For Superman.

Washington Post:
"Wake Up!" could have been a very different thing. Initially inspired to remake the Arcade Fire song of the same name, John Legend and the Roots ended up with a covers project. Only "Wake Up" didn't make the cut, and the implication of what an Arcade Fire reimagining could have meant -- a return of the favor indie rock has been paying R&B for the past few years, maybe -- transformed into a set of classic R&B remakes. The title stands thanks to the inclusion of a version of Harold Melvin & the Bluenotes' "Wake Up Everybody."

Fortunately, "Wake Up!" is a surprisingly rugged enterprise. Legend, so often a velvety and controlled vocalist, throws some ache and churn into his repertoire here. And the Roots, long one of the best backing bands in music, comply with brawny arrangements of a cleverly curated batch of songs. There are standard-bearers by Nina Simone and Marvin Gaye but also magical, unearthed deep cuts from Mike James Kirkland and Ernie Hines. The addition of a rapped verse from CL Smooth on "Our Generation" -- the Hines song famously sampled for Pete Rock and CL's "Straighten It Out" -- is the sort of move that makes this album as much fun to research as it is to hear.

John Legend is modern R&B's classiest male singer, bringing old-fashioned suavity to hip-hop soul; the Roots are the world's most versatile (and maybe best) band. Together, they have made a brilliantly conceived and executed album, reviving music from the Nixon-era heyday of politically engaged R&B. Bustling through funk, Philly soul and gospel, taking on songs famous (Marvin Gaye's "Wholy Holy") and obscure (Mike James Kirkland's "Hang on in There"), Legend and the Roots capture the old feeling of protest and uplift while updating the sound. They're not imitators - they're heirs. Rolling Stone

Track Listing

  • Hard Times feat. Black Thought5.16 
  • Compared to What 6.27 
  • Wake Up Everybody (feat. Common and Melanie Fiona) 4.25 
  • Our Generation (The Hope Of The World feat. C.L. Smooth)3.16 
  • Little Ghetto Boy feat. Malik Yusef (Prelude) 1.59 
  • Little Ghetto Boy (feat. Black Thought)5.26 
  • Hang On in There 7.15 
  • Humanity (Love the Way It Should Be)3.49 
  • Wholy Holy 5.50 
  • I Can't Write Left Handed 11.44 
  • I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free 2.43 
  • Shine - John Legend & The Roots4.44 

Total running time: 62:54

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