Wake Up! - The Roots

Generally favorable reviews - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 22
  2. Negative: 0 out of 22
  1. Dec 20, 2010
    The set is a masterclass in how to respectfully update and enhance classic music, and proves how vital and relevant 30-year-old music remains today.
  2. Oct 26, 2010
    It's not just that these sentiments are timeless - these songs, in these hands, are only now receiving their definitive interpretations.
  3. John Legend and The Roots have followed the most important rules when covering material from other artists: you need to keep that signature sound that made the original important, while also adding that something special to make it your own.
  4. This is The Roots band, jamming their way through the wealth of protest soul that rocks and rolls, and obviously a crooner like the Grammy award winning John Legend is far more important to capture that soul and make it his own.
  5. It's just a shame that, with the exception of a single original that understandably doesn't measure up to the high standards set by the covers, Legend and The Roots had to reach so far into the past to find songs that comment so powerfully and insightfully on the issues of today.
  6. Dec 22, 2010
    The songs in this collection serve for a timely reminder that hope and consciousness through music still contains some currency - with the added bonus that it's also a fine piece of work in its own right.
  7. This isn't the best album John Legend or The Roots have made, but it's not going to go down as the black sheep of either canon.
  8. At this point, it's no trouble for the Roots-with Legend or anyone-to train their never-sharper skills on the dark side of the street at night, and on the sun-kissed side in the morning.
  9. Terrific, politically charged covers album from soul's Mr. Nice Guy. [Nov. 2010, p. 107]
  10. Legend and the Roots capture the old feeling of protest and uplift while updating the sound. They're not imitators - they're heirs.
  11. The collision of timeless soul and the Roots' modern rap helps lyrics concerning education, the environment and healthcare feel entirely relevant today.
  12. In the end, even if it's only a brief aside, both the Roots and Legend expand through experimentation.
  13. What could have come off as a mediocre-to-good novelty project has, perhaps predictably, instead reaches the public coming just short of being a genuine contender for album of the year.
  14. The Roots are about to get flooded with production offers, since if they can lend John Legend serious street cred and make him more thrilling than he has ever been, they ought to be able to do this for everyone.
  15. This time, the concept of political awareness reigns supreme, accompanied by some funkadelicious licks from The Roots' guitarist Capt. Kirk.
  16. This well-intentioned collection never surpasses the strong originals from which it draws. But in pointing young listeners back to the work of fine if mostly forgotten artists such as Baby Huey and Prince Lincoln, Wake Up! serves a worthy purpose.
  17. Credit Legend and the Roots for looking beyond the hits, and it's a respectable love letter, if not quite an urgent one, to artists who shouldn't be overlooked.
  18. 60
    The results don't always play to the singer's melodic strengths; ?uestlove sounds a bit reined-in, too. Occasionally, though, they send up some serious sparks, as with a raw garage-funk take on Baby Huey's "Hard Times."
  19. On Wake Up!, the funkiest, most flexible band on the planet backs one of the most skilled and accomplished singer/keyboardists in modern R&B.
  20. The Roots aren't averse to a good cover song, so it's not surprising to see them team up with R&B crooner John Legend for a set of throwback soul tunes.
  21. 50
    Albums such as Wake Up! – best intentions aside – run the risk of coming across as entirely cheesy and contrived. Unfortunately, John Legend and The Roots are no exception to the rule.
  22. Pedantic spoken-word sections heighten the feeling of this-is-good-for-you laboriousness and make Wake Up! come off as heavier than it needs to.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 22 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 4
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 4
  3. Negative: 0 out of 4
  1. Mar 18, 2012
    amazing, I listened to this album almost everyday for like half a year and sang along. I feel you guys, and I **** love this album like its my brother Full Review »
  2. Oct 29, 2010
    A fantastic album. They adeptly add new flair to still manage to do the original artists justice. The 'I Can't Write Left Handed' cover is hands down one of the best songs of the year. Full Review »
  3. Oct 13, 2010
    It's good because it's The Roots and John Legend, but I would have liked an collabo album with original content. I was really excited about this album, and I could still listen to both of them for a long time before it getting old. Full Review »