Study for your “Phrenology” exam

Subject: “Phrenology,” The Roots new album. Routes (a.k.a. how to go about this review) Route #1-rhyming tight, drumming good, sound texture excellent, etc., -problem: done before. (See; every magazine, newspaper, Web site that reviews music). Route #2-comparison to ‘popular’ Hip-Hop playing on the radio right now-problem: What is “Hip-Hop”? Long, long, long essay unto itself, superb album gets lost in author’s inability to explain musical genre. Route #3-focus on one song, probably ‘Water’, which discusses on again, off again band member’s addiction to drugs-problem: old news (see XXX issue of Fader magazine). Route #4-examine The Roots place in so-called neo soul movement alongside such artists and musicians as Common and Jill Scott, etc., -same problem as above (see XXX issue of GQ magazine). Route #5-give up and go get something to eat-problem: this review will still need to be done. Sub route for #5, a.k.a. self discipline route; tell self there will be no food or drink until review is done. Should speed things up. Route #6-clever play off of the word “phrenology” (quick def.-“The study of the external shape of a person’s skull as a supposed indication of his character and abilities.” Thanks Oxford)-problem: Author not that clever. Route #7-analysis of guest appearance from Musiq to Talib Kweli to Cody ChesnuTT to Nelly Furtado-problem: Whose album is this anyway? Route #8-call band, ask for funny anecdote, enjoy laugh, use story for lead, hype up the reader, let them down in the body and finish it up by tying in the story at the beginning; problem: I lost Roots drummer Questlove’s two-way number. Route #9-describe personal impact, i.e., how some songs actually bring a smile to my face because they sound so good, how I’m telling everyone how great the album is, how, in my opinion, there’s not a bad song on the album, how, how, how…-problem: show, not tell. Sub route for #9-make false statement that this album has restored my faith in Hip-Hop music and that it influenced me to pick up a mic and rock it-problem: I would be lying and you would know it because it would sound corny and would you ever believe another word I wrote? Sub-sub route for #9-lie and say you hate it just to have something to write about-problem: see above. Route #10-careful analysis of the reason why above-mentioned Questlove included the weather conditions outside while particular songs were being recorded in the linear notes-problem: author not a musician, not sure about the affect of weather on musicians’ ability/prerogative to perform. Route #11-switch focus to limited edition DVD and it’s content, which comes specially packaged with some CD’s-problem: too Entertainment Weekly-ish. Route #12-forget it and review a different CD-problem: spent last $13 on this CD. Route #13-turn this in-problem: no, solution. Route #14-go get something to eat.