Game Theory

  • Record Label: Def Jam
  • Release Date: Aug 29, 2006
Metascore
83

Universal acclaim - based on 26 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 26
  2. Negative: 0 out of 26
  1. Game Theory is a heavy album, the Roots' sharpest work. It's destined to become one of Def Jam's proudest, if not most popular, moments.
  2. 80
    Whatever style the Roots take on their eighth album, whether it’s 21st century Sly Stone ("Baby"), flute-inflected freak-folk ("Living in a New World") or epic black rock ("Game Theory"), they do better than anyone else in pop.
  3. Game Theory’s highs never quite reach those of Do You Want More?!!!??! or Illadeph Halflife (1996), and those albums, even with those highs, are still inconsistent affairs. Which means that the Roots are back on track, but the track itself was never something we praised wholeheartedly in the first place.
  4. This is not merely a good album, but a truly great one.
  5. Game Theory turns out to be The Roots’ finest record to date.
  6. [This] downcast disc is actually an improvement on its predecessor.
  7. It's all ghetto vérité and political paranoia, with claustrophobic production to match the doom and gloom.
  8. Los Angeles Times
    75
    "Game Theory" helps rescue a remarkably anemic hip-hop summer. [20 Aug 2006]
  9. Mojo
    90
    A focused tour de force. [Oct 2006, p.100]
  10. If anything, the grooves have gotten tougher and funkier on Game Theory.
  11. A streamlined product that die-hards can justly revel in.
  12. The Roots’ darkest, grimiest, most unrelenting and possibly most focused effort to date.
  13. There are plenty of unexpected surprises to be found.
  14. Rolling Stone
    70
    For every head-nodding beat, Game Theory has a head-turning treat. [7 Sep 2006, p.100]
  15. A few throwaways... keep Theory from attaining the rarified heights of earlier efforts. But in the final count, it’s just nice to hear this criminally underappreciated outfit sounding so sharp and revitalized.
  16. Spin
    80
    Game Theory is the Roots at their heaviest. [Sep 2006, p.114]
  17. With Game Theory, the Roots have finally delivered on nearly every once-broken promise.
  18. Especially in its superior second half, the album resonates with casual ambition as it reconciles ?uestlove's effortless bohemian cool and sonic perfectionism with Black Thought's dark swagger, street-level sociology, and silver-tongued virtuosity.
  19. This taut, turbulent piece of work is the Roots' best yet.
  20. It is an excellent album that has taken them seven long years to finally get to, but those are seven years that have been evidently well spent: After years of mediocrity and being, to some degree, marginalized -- just when the world needed them -- The Roots are back like never before.
  21. Uncut
    80
    Consolidates the experimentation of 2002's Phrenology and the conscious snap of 1999's Things Fall Apart into a focused, intelligent record. [Oct 2006, p.123]
  22. Urb
    70
    The Roots' energy is claustrophobic and thus, jaded. It still has a prominent place on Game Theory, but when it's not subdued, it's downright bitter. [Sep 2006, p.142]
  23. Vibe
    80
    Like prior Roots albums, Game Theory boasts top-notch craftsmanship... but it's continuity that makes this album unique. [Sep 2006, p.211]
  24. They've resurfaced sounding dark, mysterious, and pissed off.
User Score
8.9

Universal acclaim- based on 86 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 39 out of 43
  2. Negative: 1 out of 43
  1. Apr 25, 2012
    7
    This is my favorite Roots album. It's listenable from start to finish. It never dips off and "Don't Feel Right", "Long Time", andThis is my favorite Roots album. It's listenable from start to finish. It never dips off and "Don't Feel Right", "Long Time", and "Atonement" take the experience to the next level. Full Review »
  2. Feb 24, 2012
    3
    I dont know what happened to the Roots before Undun but this album wasnt nearly good. They couldnt make this album a classic and itI dont know what happened to the Roots before Undun but this album wasnt nearly good. They couldnt make this album a classic and it disappoints me because im a huge Roots fan. But at least we have classics like "Undun" & Phrenology Full Review »
  3. j30
    Sep 28, 2011
    8
    Dark, exciting new territory for the Philadelphia based band.