Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Album Review: John Legend - "Evolver"

John Legend's highly anticipated third album, "Evolver", is due to hit stores October 28th, luckily though, I was able to give it a listen in advance. Now, to preview this a bit, without tipping my hand too much, Legend is coming off "Once Again", his sophomore album which was critically acclaimed and definitely ranks as one of my favorite albums of all-time. His debut album, "Get Lifted", is not to be undersold either. Legend has built himself a niche as a current soul/funk artist who bridges the gap from new to old and "Evolver" is given lofty expectations. I generally have a rule of 3 for artists, that is, if an artist drops his or her first three albums and they are all dope then this person is a classic artist. A recent example is Kanye West. Unfortunately, in my eyes Legend came up a bit short on this album, luckily for him I already consider him a classic artist after "Once Again" (not that he cares).

Alright, here is my issue with the album: Where are the standout songs? There isn't a single standout on here, and that's not because they are all indistinguishably great, it's because they're all mostly filler. There are songs I would listen to again, such as "Everybody Knows", but no songs that I would listen to over and over again. It seems he went a little to modern-stream and abandoned his Stevie Wonder-esque roots. There's nothing wrong with evolving (no pun intended) as an artist, but Legend has been performing music for too long to think this is the best quality he can put out. I mean seriously, John, where is the piano? Let your voice do the talking, you were pumping way too much bass in my ear, I'm not really feeling that. It is possible he peaked as an artist, which is very distressing to real soul music fans because there are few truly great artists left to look forward to. I fear we may have seen the best of Legend and while the album isn't terrible, perhaps a more suitable name for would have been "Devolver". I'm just saying, man.

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