2016 has proven to be a year of awakening. However, there are some of us who have been “woke” for quite some time. John Legend is one of those people. His lyrics are prolific and his vocals are unmistakable. I heard him as the keynote speaker at a Frito Lay event a few years ago. Oh and I probably should mention, his speech was impromptu. Nonetheless, his presentation was flawless. Although his last album, Love In The Future, spawned the biggest hit of his career with “All Of Me”, that was almost 4 years ago. Even one year can be eternity in the music business. Now, he’s back with a new release, Darkness and Light, set to drop this Friday, December 2nd.
Legend’s previous releases have specs of political awareness and courageous stands against injustice. Darkness and Light, his fifth studio album, is poised to be the beacon of hope for this generation. He says he wanted to make a conscious project that reflects everything happening today, without sounding cliche. He has already revealed two well received singles from the album, including the fiery “Love Me Now” and the self shaming “Penthouse Floor”, with Chance the Rapper. Now, “I Know Better” takes center stage. This track was released over the weekend. The song exudes elements of gospel and deep soul. The production here is simple. In fact, the song sounds melancholy at first listen. However, if anyone can teeter on the fence of soul stirring sadness, John Legend can.
John Legend delivered a rousing performance of “Love Me Now” at this year’s American Music Awards. This album appears to be void of intricate tales of infidelity and gold digger chronicles. John Legend knows how to tap into his audience. That isn’t the kind of music we need now. He realizes, that now we need music of substance more than ever. We need timeless classics. Sounds like he’s about to deliver just that.