Well, it only took a few years but I’m finally a John Legend fan. I’m not quite sure why I actively avoided his music before but his latest album made it into my life and I cannot stop listening. Darkness and Light was released last week and it’s been stuck on repeat ever since. Every single song is worth listening to, the vocals are astonishing, the collaborations are a blend of perfect talent and the story-telling leaves you inspired.
“I Know Better” is the first song on the album and the first sentence grabs your attention immediately. It’s one of the most vocally strong songs on the album; the soul and emotion can be heart within each verse. The song is the perfect introduction for what we should be expecting from the album:
They say sing what you know
But I’ve sung what they want
Some folks do what they’re told
But baby this time I won’t
When I look through that door
I know the truth from lie
Some things I’ve done before I can’t justify
Lately it feels like Chance the Rapper is everywhere I turn and the latest John Legend album is no exception. John Legend and Chance team up to tackle, “Penthouse Floor” and the result is one of the best songs of the entire album. This song sounds like an inside look at “making it”; it describes arriving to the top and all expectations falling short.
They float above the city lights
Forget the truth, inhale the lies
Just enjoy the show
They see us reaching for the sky
Just in order to survive
Brittany Howard could sing me the alphabet and I would say that she deserves a Grammy. She is featured in the title track, “Darkness and Light” and this is the song I won’t be able to live without. Vocally, this song is one of the best and the beauty of John Legend and Brittany Howard together is that they seem to push themselves in a magical way. John Legend’s vocals soar in this track and it makes me want to listen to him forever. This is the song that made stop dead in my tracks, it’s the one that touched my heart and forced me to pay attention.
“How Can I Blame You” is the song that caught me off guard. The desperation in Legend’s voice, coupled with the urgency in his tone had me replaying the song over and over again. “Same Old Story” gives us a hint of his piano ballads, but if you’re looking for a romantic love story; you won’t be finding that here.
Oh, say I’m overreacting
As if you believe in that
But you answer questions
That nobody even asked
Although we may stay together
Down in your heart, you know better
You pictured all the ways that you’ll move on
I cannot attest to any of his previous albums but Darkness and Light is an album full of soul, heartache, lessons, strong narrative and catchy melodies. I will be going back and listening to his previous work and am confident that I’ll be adding those albums to my playlists as well. John Legend is a man who sings from his heart and each song perfectly showcases that. Do yourself a favor and get this album. Listen, Love and Learn.