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Exclusive: John Legend and the Roots Go Acoustic

Watch the singer and band recast 'Compared to What,' which appears in electric form on their new album, 'Wake Up!'

September 21, 2010 4:25 PM ET

John Legend and the Roots have kindly given Rolling Stone this exclusive acoustic performance of Eugene McDaniel's soulful anti-war track "Compared to What," which appears in electric form on their new covers album, Wake Up!, which hits stores today. The track was recorded in the Roots' NYC rehearsal studio. "John Legend is modern R&B's classiest male singer, bringing old-fashioned suavity to hip-hop soul; the Roots are the world's most versatile (and maybe best) band," Jody Rosen writes in his Rolling Stone review of Wake Up! , which earns four stars. "Together, they have made a brilliantly conceived and executed album, reviving music from the Nixon-era heyday of politically engaged R&B."

Earlier: John Legend Talks Lending Songs for Education Reform

Video: The Roots and John Legend on their soul LP 'Wake Up!'

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Song Stories

“Road to Nowhere”

Talking Heads | 1985

A cappella harmonies give way to an a fuller arrangement blending pop and electro-disco on "Road to Nowhere," but the theme remains constant: We're on an eternal journey to an undefined destination. The song vaulted back into the news a quarter century after it was a hit when Gov. Charlie Crist used it in his unsuccessful 2010 campaign for the U.S. Senate in Florida. "It's this little ditty about how there's no order and no plan and no scheme to life and death and it doesn't mean anything, but it's all right," Byrne said with a chuckle.

More Song Stories entries »
 
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