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John Legend- Love, Pass It On!
on September 6, 2013
John Legend is beginning to remind me of the Whispers' song from years ago, he just gets better with time. Some people may not value the type of sound he brings because he plays a brand of classical music and looks too clean cut. But one shouldn't judge that and you can't deny the fact he is very gifted at what he does. Love In The Future helps show off that gift as his theme is one that has been a common one from all the recent R&B albums, restoring love. For John that means not only restoring love in R&B songs but love in the future.
I quite loved the album right off the bat, but I did have to take a day and let it marinate as I listened to Jaheim (Man it has been a great week in R&B!) so that I could come back and really truly appreciate the album he put together. He does dabble some in bringing other elements and instruments in on some of the CD with the production. But there is more than enough tracks where he simplifies and breaks it down to where it is just him, his voice and his talented piano playing. You have tracks like Open Your Eyes that has guitar edge to it and borrows the chorus from Common's The Light(Bobby Caldwell borrowed) and also has a Stevie Wonder feel to it. Made To Love brings in hard drum sound to elevate the energy on the album while Who Do We Think We Are brings together hip hop, soul and classical. Matching what could be an odd couple in Rick Ross's tough and gruff gangsta with John Legend's clean cut gentleman with a sound that could be described like a 70s hard but smooth, rolling around gangster's anthem is a true listening pleasure. That bass guitar rides heavy and funky! After he gets more back to his duets with him and his piano in songs like the beautifully crafted All Of Me, loving your significant with all of their curves, edges and imperfections(physically and spiritually). It is easy to get caught up in the good and attraction of someone, but you realize you love someone when you accept their flaws and willing to still be with them. Hold On Longer seems so melancholy in saying to keep holding on cause love will find you even if it doesn't seem that way at times. But then he does flip it on a song I love called Tomorrow, where he sees when you do see the love you have been looking for that don't wait til tomorrow cause you may miss out. Wanna Be Loved hits a homerun on its focus, in how everyone is looking to be loved by someone. That can go for couples or familial relationships to me, but when heart doesn't feel it can go wrong. Probably why there is so many problems in the world cause hearts have been burned or hurt by what they thought was love. This one has more keyboards with a sprinkle of piano but it still sounds great. A song I wished they had did a full cut of is Angel, the duet with Stacy Barthe. They spiced up the Anita Baker version with some funk and jazz with bass guitar and trumpets to go with low whispering vocals. Man! Why couldn't they do 4 minutes? But it is a hidden gem. If You and I is not the absolute best cut, it is right there in the running. A song that could make a couple feel like they are on an island away from everyone else and any distraction in the world, this song could be a dedication to your special lady to let her know she truly is "the one." The low, then high buildups along with mixing in guitar and horns makes this a definite standout! The wrap up songs Asylum and Caught Up bring out that crazy in love feel and unleashing it on(or in however you want to look at it :)!) each other to send the album out differently from the John Legend sound you may expect, but giving off that staying in love vibe.
People want to feel like they are getting value when they put down $10-$15 on an album and not feel like they got duped. Spending $30 on 3 CDs in economy that is still on recovery mode can feel like an even bigger risk. But forking over that cash for the three I got this week, I felt as if I got more than what I bargained for including Mr. Legend's Love In the Future. Well worth the price of admission! This could be, very well be his best since Get Lifted. He might be an artist that you either love him or he is not your cup of tea. This CD may very well continue that because he doesn't really try to persuade people cause he stays with his style that helped put him on. But for those who may not be a fan of his, if you give it a chance I feel you may come away surprised at what you get. R&B is finally starting to turn around! Thank goodness. Maybe a little bit of love can do the same for the world. It is sort of far-fetched because the world may be too far gone to turn back now and I'm a cynic. But I said the same about the R&B game and it is showing me different. Maybe the world can follow suit... If you pass on the message that John gives here along with others that have released recently, it may very well be possible. Thank you, John Legend! You and your compatriots are helping me to believe again.