The Best Song For 2006
December 15, 2006
I still remember where I was the first time I heard The Roots, but being a fan of theirs has been a frustrating experience over the years. Even when they were at their best, you couldn’t help but wonder why their songs didn’t grip you a little harder. The Roots have always been hip-hop scientists: very skilled and knowledgeable in their area of expertise, but cooly detached; rational, when they needed to be emotional.
I don’t know what changed, but they finally got angry, and found that emotional center they’d often been lacking. This year they released Game Theory, the strongest album of their career. Unfortunately, not many people heard it.
“Don’t Feel Right” is the centerpiece of the album. Black Thought’s flow is unstoppable, ideas and connections assailing the listener with the venom of someone who’s been bitinh his tongue for far too long. The chorus, with its repeated chant of “It don’t feel right,” repeated and buried under layers of delay, perfectly evokes the unrelenting waves of bad news that have been coming at us non-stop since Katrina, or since Iraq, or since 9/11, or since the 2000 election, or since whenever it was we started paying attention. Just because the Democrats won a round this year doesn’t mean anything’s changed, and things are probably going to get a lot worse before they get better.
I really wanted to see this song blaze up the charts and stay there this year, because it’s an absolutely perfect summation of what life on this planet was like in 2006.