Friday, September 13, 2013

John Legend – Love in the Future (2013) – Review

Review: Love in the Future is John Legend’s fourth solo studio album, after taking five years between releases (in which he recorded Wake Up! with the Roots, and featuring on a ton of hip hop tracks).

With Love in the Future, John Legend wanted to make a modern R&B/soul album unlike anything heard in the genre. He also employed a wide mix of great producers to help shape the sound, often having multiple producers work on tracks independently. That said, Legend, Kanye West, and Dave Tozer serve as the album’s overall creative forces. The result of having many creative voices actually works out pretty well, as Love in the Future has a very different and interesting sound – while still clearly feeling both like a soul album and a John Legend album. It is a much better and more interesting release than Evolver, but it will likely disappoint Legend’s initial fans who loved Get Lifted and Once Again, as Legend has moved on musically.

While the album definitely feels new and different (but with a connection to the past), it does not adopt the extremely (probably overly so) popular trend of an EDM vibe/influence. This very much feels like a soul record. It is modern in a fresh way, without the synths and electronic beats. The music that accompanies Legend is lush, eerie (at times), and tempered to meet the parameters of modern soul. Musically, it is an album that plays well in the background, with only a few tracks that really stand out.

Lyrically, Legend sings about the joys of romance. The lyrics feel like they are mostly aimed at new couples who are still in the throes of just being around one and other with optimistic plans for the future. It is a pleasant tone that fits Legend’s demographic and talent.

Love in the Future does not revolutionize soul music, but it is a good album – and one with more crossover potential than most classically sounding soul records. 3/5

Essential Tracks:
1)      The Beginning… – Produced by Hit-Boy
2)      Made to Love – Produced by Dave Tozer
3)      We Loved It – Produced by Kanye West and Jeff Bhasker, featuring Seal

Available on: Digital Download

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