Review: John Legend - Evolver

Posted by Mack of Sound-Savvy On 8:43 AM

Artist: John Legend
Album: Evolver
Release Date: 10.28.08

An evolution is just what the doctor ordered in the case of John Legend’s music. After his previous release, Once Again, I was a little worried that Legend would wander into that boring elevator/lounge singer type music. After listening to this album, it’s clear that the five-time Grammy winner is all about keeping the music fresh! As the title implies, this release really does show an evolution in Legend’s sound, adding elements of reggae and hip-hop to his purely soulful vocals. With guest appearances from Andre 3000, Kanye West, Brandy, Estelle, and (guess who’s bizzack!) Teddy Riley, Evolver is the album that expands Legend’s range and relights the buzz created by his classic debut.

Green Light was a brilliant choice for lead single; it introduces a new style and sound for Legend, adding the infamous Andre 3000 for an extra boost of eclectic energy. The cameos continue throughout the album, with Kanye (and his auto-tune enhanced vocals) on the get-over-it-themed It’s Over. This song abandons the meaningless wordplay and gets right to the point: “What do ya keep standing there for? It’s over…” Brandy steps in on Quickly (Mack’s choice!), a nice mid-tempo joint about the urgency of love in uncertain times. Estelle adds her reggae tinge to No Other Love and there’s a feel good vibe on the old-school flavored Satisfaction. Other highlights include the forlorn Everybody Knows, the rhythmic Take Me Away and the uplifting If You’re Out There. The latter was performed by Legend and the Agape International Choir in support of future president Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention in August. The only track that didn’t really do it for me is the ultra-depressing I Love, You Love; the song just tends to drag on and Legend’s falsetto becomes borderline whiny and whimpering.

Props to John Legend on stepping it up with his third studio release. Evolver is everything it should be – it shows growth in his style and a better more modern sound, making it a step above Once Again. It’s not that John Legend’s previous albums weren’t good; in fact the first album was a certified classic! It’s just that another album moving in the same direction could have proved detrimental for him. I’d definitely recommend this joint, it has a lot more to offer and will surely reach a wider range of fans.


1 Comment

  1. I can not WAIT for this to drop and now that I've read this review, I know I need it ! J. Legend is that dude...any word on a new Musiq release or did I miss it?

    Posted on October 20, 2008 at 9:52 AM


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