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Limited edition translucent blue vinyl! On The Roots' ninth studio album, the band creates some of its most downcast and alluring material, with lyrical topics of solitude, self-destruction, and planetary ills. It’s all vividly conveyed through pensive arrangements, sobering rhymes, spooky choruses, and even spookier backing vocals. Truck North, P.O.R.N., Dice Raw, and Blu make gripping contributions, but no one cuts to the chase quite like Black Thought. He can condense modern reality into one deftly delivered line, like “Got immunized for both flus, I’m still sick.” By the fifth track, the spirit lifts a little, though the songs are still deeply planted in realism. The title track is modern soul-blues that cooks, assisted by some serious singing from Black Thought and an inspiring chorus from Dice Raw. On “Now or Never,” Phonte’s dejection (“My role was cast before I even auditioned for it”) is tempered with Dice Raw's glints of determination. For good measure, or perhaps for the sake of a little balance, the back half also features a hardcore boast session between Thought, Peedi Peedi, and Truck North that cannot be disregarded. This is yet another Roots album that lends itself to repeated, beginning-to-end listening. It is gracefully and cleverly sequenced, from the way the tracks melt into each other to the way “Doin’ It Again” samples John Legend's anguished “Again” prior to transitioning into the anthemic “The Fire,” which features a fresh collaboration with Legend himself.