From albums like Get Lifted to 2008’s Evolver, Grammy-winning R&B singer John Legend has made smooth and enjoyable music since the beginning of his career in 2004. Through his music, Legend has always encouraged his fans to love and to be loved.
Now, the crooner is back with his fourth studio album, Love in the Future, where he goes beyond his usual encouragement of love and relationships and sings of his own love and anticipation of marriage and a future with his fiancée, model Chrissy Teigen.
From his June interview with Oprah Winfrey to his heartfelt performances of the singles from the album, it is quite obvious that Legend is very in love. It is even more obvious on the album, where fans have the privilege to experience Legend’s feelings in its 16 tracks (there are 20 tracks on the deluxe.)
Legend worked with a plethora of producers, like Q-Tip, Malay, Doc McKinney, Bink! and 88 Keys to name a few, with Kanye West as one of his few executive producers.
Love in the Future captures every essence of love, with subjects like attraction, sex, desiring a future with your partner, overcoming loneliness and more, in his refined, neo-soul sound.
Legend sets the tone of new love on the album with the intro and album title track, “Love in the Future (Intro),” as he sings, “It’s a new year for love, love in the future not the love I lost.”
The journey of love continues next with, “The Beginning…,” a sensual song that samples Sara Bareilles hit, “Winter Song,” while Legend sings of first wanting his lover, sexually and emotionally, and how this is only the beginning of their relationship. The track is a very endearing love song, with Legend’s sweet words of love-making here and there.
The samples continue with Legend’s cover of Bobby Caldwell’s “Open Your Eyes.” On the reassuring “Open Your Eyes” track, Legend tells his lover to open her eyes so he can show her that he will always be by her side, all while showcasing his full, soulful pipes with an eccentric guitar solo at the end.
Let’s not forget the heavyweights, “Who Do We Think We Are,” “Made to Love” and “All of Me,” that ignited our anticipation from Legend’s “Love in the Future” project. Passionate vocals from Legend, piano accompaniment, looped harmonies, and a Rick Ross verse make up the leading single, “Who Do We Think We Are.”
Next came “Made to Love,” a playful song featuring guest vocals from Kimbra that blend perfectly with those of Legend’s. The sincere promise track, “All of Me,” begins like “The Beginning…” but goes further with groom-to-be Legend’s intimate vows to fiancée Teigen.
Love continues on with “Hold On Longer,” a piano-steady song that may not be as impressive as the singles, but deals with working through relationship problems and holding on to the love.
Among several songs on Love in the Future, Kanye West’s production trace is found on the moving beats and gospel-filled piano on “Save the Night.” Legend and his lover save the night with a night of intimacy.
From then on, the theme of new love’s embrace strings on in songs like Q-Tip produced “Tomorrow,” vocal-driven “Dreams,” Doc McKinney-produced “Wanna Be Loved” and the “Angel” interlude, featuring Stacey Barthe.
“You & I (Nobody in the World)” is the song that every woman wants to hear from her man, singing his heart out to her. Like his declaration in “All of Me,” Legend goes beyond a promise to express his physical love for his lover and his one and only desire for her.
“Asylum” is a different sound from John Legend, with distorted beats and his falsetto reaches throughout the song. Legend wants to get caught up with his lover after a long day at work in “Caught Up,” a catchy love song. He sings, “I’m trying to get caught up in your love tonight. You can help me just breathe.”
The bonus tracks bring the love journey to an end with soulful “So Gone,” Seal-assisted “We Loved It,” slow and steady “Aim High” and wedding-ready “For The First Time.”
Love in the Future is the R&B album hopeless romantics, love hopefuls, mature lovers and true John Legend fans have waited for. Legend goes beyond the surface of love and captures every emotion it brings forth. This album definitely raises neo-soul from the death the world thought it had once endured.
Rating 5 out of 5 stars
Standout Tracks: “Who Do We Think We Are,” “Made to Love,” “All of Me,” “Save the Night”