Sunday, April 13, 2014

John Legend- Love In TheFuture (2013)

Why did I review the album? John Legend is one of my favorite singers (second to JT)
Did I like it? Yes
Will I listen again?  Yes, to some tracks

Love in the Future offers an artist that is honing his craft instead of branching out.  The albums plays like something from a lounge performer. It has a smooth and intimate feel that I loved. I think it works because each person can bring his experience with relationships and through that have his own experience with this album.
In fairness to John Legend, I do not think he did anything wrong with this album, but I entered this album with expectations concerning the content of the album that did not match his intentions.  After about three to four albums I expected him to start toying with his music a bit more. Change his subject matter (a bit), the sound, or the delivery. Something that would indicate him expanding as an artist. Instead I received 15 songs of John Legend belting out nice soulful tracks, and that’s fine, but I already knew he could do that. Couples that have been together for long enough to endure road bumps in their relationship will adore this album, but I’m curious to hear what everyone else has to say.

Is it what I wanted? Not quite
Is it great considering his intentions? Yes

My Favs
3. Who Do We Think We Are
2. We Loved It
1. All of Me
Overall Rating: 75 with a recommendation to listen then decide

Intro- N/A
The Beginning- I wasn’t very interested in listening to the rest of the album after this opening. It’s by no means bad song, but I thought he’d open with a stronger song. I do like the message and its tie to the name of the album. 3/5
Open Your Eyes- Originally thought Common was the first to use this beat, but Bobby Caldwell used it first. I won’t even compare the three because I’ve realized it doesn’t really matter which one is better than the other. The fact is, we were given another installment of this song. Let’s sit back and enjoy what we’ve been given.   3.5/5
Made To Love- This was what I meant by doing something different. He’s singing, but the woman takes most of the attention away from him. It’s also a change from the slow-singing soulful Legend and introduces a fast pace. 4/5
Who Do We Think We Are- I was a little worried about a John Legend- Rick Ross combination. They’d worked together before, (Rich Forever) but in that song Ross was still rapping in his usual flamboyant style and that worked because it Ross’s album. I was afraid he wouldn’t tone it down enough for a John Legend track. My fears were unfounded because they worked together masterfully.
 This also what I wanted from the album. John Legend doesn’t change his style, but everything else about this song is far from his repertoire. He’s put a rapper in the song, something he doesn’t usually do AND he added the live bit towards the end to add a live concert element. He took a few risks and both worked.
For me the greatest achievement of this song is that it doesn’t force either artist to change in order to create something new. Legend doesn’t try anything, and if his lyrics are analyzed Ross is still talking about his trademark subjects, women, money and clothes. He even mentions weed (I had to laugh, it's almost like he can’t help himself) The only difference is his level of flamboyance. His verse is delivered in a low key manner, so even when he does mention those things it still manages to keep the soulful love-song vibe Legend is trying to create   5/5
All of Me- Simply his most beautiful work since Ordinary People. One of the few songs that can achieve 5 stars on beauty alone. 5/5
Hold On Longer- Compares a relationship to being underwater. It’s an interesting concept, but didn’t hold my interest 3/5
Save the Night- This one is more upbeat than usual, but his delivery and the instruments melted together beautifully. 4.5/5
Tomorrow- Did anyone else find the lady’s voice in the background distracting? She’s in the beginning from 25 second and sings “eeeeee”. She returns during the chorus to accompany Legend as well. It’s not that loud and I’m not sure if others will realize she’s even there, but it annoyed me. The other man and woman that accompany Legend are great. Their light singing matches the tone created from the instruments. It allows Legends voice to command the track, but they manage to support him nicely and are memorable.  4/5
What If I Told You (interlude)- I feel the same about interludes as I do about intros. At best they are great teasers that leave me wishing for more (that I will never receive) and at worst are a waste of a track. N/A
Dreams- This is a very pretty track, but I wish it was longer. 3.5/5
Wanna Be Loved- This track is somewhere in the middle of slow and upbeat. It catches elements of both and manages them well. 3.5/5
Angel (interlude)- A cover of Anita Baker’s Angel, but not a full one. I have mixed feeling about this. If you’re going to cover a classic why not do it completely?  I faithful to the original lyrically, but toys with the sound. I don’t love it, but I definitely don’t hate it. 3/5
You and I (Nobody In The World)- This song had the potential to resort to sappiness, but avoided the trap. Even if it is, I tend to receive sappy songs more kindly than others. Most songs of that type tend to talk about appreciating women and I can’t bash anyone that’s sending out a positive message.  3.5/5
Asylum- I loved the beat for this song. It’s completely different and surprisingly worked better than I expected.4/5
Caught Up- I should like this song more, but I reminds me of Legend’s usual formula.   3/5
So Gone- There’s a darkness/ foreboding about this song that attracts me to it. It’s not overly dark, but it stays there and covers the song. 4.5/5
We Loved It- This song paired Legend with another singer and I wish I knew who it was. Whoever he is, he’s not credited, but did a marvelous job. The song chronicles the break of a relationship and its aftereffects on the singers. The song plays as though the duo are completing with each other to prove that each is more damaged by his experience than the other. I felt the hurt and regret of each and I loved every minute of it. 5/5
Aim High- A very tame song compared to its predecessor, but good nonetheless. We’re back to classic Legend formula. A simple beat that supplements Legends voice. I loved the piano and saxophone combo towards the end 4/5

For The First Time-    This song uses clever lyrics to explain the many different phrases for experiencing something for the first time. The message from the first track is repeated here. This is a solid end to the album. 3.5/5


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