In November, I reviewed the first single from John Legend’s new album, “Get Lifted”. The entire album is out now (Dec 28 – already Amazon #37), and measures up admirably to the single, “Used To Love You”.
The album has fourteen songs, with the iTunes version featuring only nine – but what songs they are. Each one lingers like a glass of fine wine, and dwells on simple things, with gentle harmonies, easy beats and a smooth voice. One song, “Number One” features Kanye West, who has also written and produced many of the songs for this album. My favorite song, apart from “Used To Love You” is “Ordinary People”, a light love song on piano, where John talks about taking it slow in a relationship because we are just ordinary people. Nothing complex, but meaningful. According to John, the song is, “real, a composite of experiences. It’s about love, not as a fantasy or fairytale, but as it really goes down between two people.”
“Refuge (When It’s Cold Outside)” is a soulful ballad, while “Live It Up” has a faster beat. In short, John displays admirable range, well supported by good lyrics.
The album resonates with influences from Talib Kweli, Kanye West et al, and refreshes soul music, without destroying the essence of the style. His own experiences and exposure to music in Philadelphia and elsewhere permeate the album. Thematically, love and the need for the other to understand the self are the underlying themes on most of the songs, from the title track to the doo-wop “I Can Change”. The artist’s site is a nice one too, with a backing soundtrack, and a piano room with behind the scenes versions of the songs.
Worthy of repeated listening, and a portent of great things from this fine artist, “Get Lifted” is a good, well-produced album. John Legend will be on tour early next year, beginning with a show in Washington, DC.