A little lively, a lot to love
American singer, songwriter, producer, actor and philanthropist, accurately staged named John Legend, has only been part of the industry for 20 years and has already achieved many great accolades and awards. Before he even released his first album in 2004, Legend had already worked with many stars like Kanye West, Alicia Keys and Jay Z. His highest-charting song to date is off his fourth album and is titled “All Of Me,” which is a pop ballad dedicated to his wife, Chrissy Teigan. Legend is one of 15 people in entertainment industry history to have won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony (EGOT) award. He is also the first black man to have done so, as well as the second youngest to earn the title. Besides being a multi-award winner and releasing music, Legend has also been a coach for the past year and even won the 16th season on The Voice. However, his most recent project has been his sixth studio album, Bigger Love, that just released this month.
Bigger Love opens up on a doo-wop inspired note with track, “Ooh Laa,” that uses a bit of that special ’40s era R&B sound with a modern twist and a hint of hip-hop influence. The track embraces different genres, but still displays Legend’s soft, soulful voice perfectly.
Quite a few of the songs on the album feature other artists, including “Wild” with bluesy rock musician Gary Clark Jr., “U Move, I Move” with fellow R&B singer Jhene Aiko, “Don’t Walk Away” with reggae artist Koffee, “I’m Ready” with soul songwriter Camper and “Remember Us” with female rapper Rapsody. One of the more stand out songs is “U Move, I Move,” which starts off a little slow and safe, but eventually morphs into a smooth and sensual melody that’s a tad catchier, accompanied and made better by Aiko’s sweet-sounding vocals.
Another track that breaks the ‘Legend mold’ of piano pop ballads is “Don’t Walk Away” thanks to Koffee’s reggae vibe infused into the song. “Remember Us” is also stands out with an old-school jazzy vibe and a lovely lyrical flow like “I’m a patient man, but in these times/ Where we can’t dance or compromise/ I miss your laugh, I miss your eyes/ They’re still there in the back of my mind.”
“I Do” has a more upbeat, animated R&B sound than Legend’s usual projects, and it seems that it may be because of the song’s co-writer, American singer-songwriter Charlie Puth, who’s famous for his incredibly infectious pop jams. People hear more of that new energetic style on track “Actions,” which turns away from Legend’s famous love song typecast with lyrics like “Just a couple of friends with some benefits/ She gave me all of her love then I waste it/ I wrote a new song, then erased it/ Oh, every other thing that I’ve said before/ Said you don’t wanna hear about it anymore/ I feel so creative but it feels like there’s nothing left to say to make you stay” and instead explores some harder sides of love. This song will probably even reach radio and receive some public notice for how different but lively it is.
While there are a few mellow, borderline boring signature John Legend slow songs, Bigger Love also shows people a new, experimental side of Legend’s music. Listeners get tastes of multiple genres and styles, as well as some fun features. It’s refreshing to hear his swoon-worthy voice and lyrical talent reach new heights. Definitely worth a listen if people have the chance.