How I Got Over
Those into the minimal melancholy of 2008's Rising Down are in for more moody masterpieces with 2010's How I Got Over. The Roots' ninth studio album touches on more dark and heady subjects like loneliness, perseverance, self-abuse, war, and even aspects of existentialism. "Dear God 2.0" is riveting and beautiful with haunting elements provided by Monsters of Folk. Blu, P.O.R.N. and Dice Raw contribute to "Radio Daze," which is a little more buoyant thanks to some roomy, snare-heavy beats and a melodic hook in the chorus while Black Thought's ability to make complex phrasing move with a flowing cadence takes center stage. Things get a bit sunnier on "Now or Never" as both the tempos and melodies pick up a little. But you get a sense of why "How I Got Over" became the title-track from the first verse. It's overflowing with the classic tones of Philly soul, and not just in the instruments — Black Thought's heartfelt and controlled singing here reveals his best performance of the album, though he's upstaged by Joanna Newsom on the contagiously catchy "Right On."