Home > News & Reviews > Common

Common - Let Love (Album Review)

Tuesday, 03 September 2019 Written by Jacob Brookman

‘Let Love’ is Common’s 12th studio album and serves as the self-declared musical iteration of his New York Times bestselling memoir Let Love Have the Last Word. 

It treads familiar lyrical ground, with his complicated family upbringing, political commentary and religious faith permeating a soft hip hop record of warm, soulful reassurance. It’s a clear departure from 2016’s more proactive and politically motivated ‘Black America Again’.

The opener Good Morning Love—one of several songs to feature elegant contributions from Samora Pinderhughes—is a low-slung meditation on faith and the concept of essential morality.

It doesn’t always make complete sense. “In the hood sense, we all good anyway / That's why you always hear another dollar, another day,” Common declares.

Here, he appears to be drawing a direct line between the pursuit of money and ethical decency. That might make sense in a society that has economically marginalised African Americans throughout its history, but it still feels like an odd sentiment. In another setting—an infomercial, for example—it might be the claptrap of a huckster at a megachurch. It's a surprisingly poorly thought out line, and sticks out as such.

That said, the production, and Common’s bars in general, are excellent. Though this is not one of his best records (tracks like HER Love, Leaders and Hercules pass without landing a punch) the quality of his storytelling and ear for hooks keep the record ticking. Similarly to contemporaries Yasiin Bey (Mos Def) and Talib Kweli, you always get the impression that Common’s work ethic and natural intelligence are a key reason why so many other wordsmiths have had shorter careers than he has.

Fifth Story is indicative of this—a powerful hood tale with intersecting bars from mask wearing New Yorker Leikeli47. The track has a stop/start rhythm combined with sinister chords that build and build with compelling tension, and the perfectly executed male and female vocals give it great integrity. It’s a relative standout on an otherwise slightly underwhelming album.

At this point, Common has become a bit of a vaudevillian: an all round entertainer and public intellectual whose main artistic medium is no longer clear. As such, he can certainly be forgiven for taking his foot off the pedal with ‘Let Love’. That said, this is a deeply autobiographical album and one does feel that there are more musical avenues and sonic directions to explore than the finished product suggests. It passes without much endeavour or innovation, which is unusual and unwelcome for a musician of Common’s quality. 

Common Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Tue September 10 2019 - LONDON O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire
Thu September 12 2019 - MANCHESTER O2 Ritz

Click here to compare & buy Common Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

Let Us Know What You Think - Leave A Comment!

Related News

Common Unveils Hercules Video Featuring Vince Staples
Fri 12 Jul 2019
Common has shared a video for his new single, Hercules.
Common To Bring Let Love Tour To UK In September
Wed 12 Jun 2019
Common will bring his Let Love Tour to the UK this autumn.
Common - Black America Again (Album Review)
Tue 15 Nov 2016
A recent cover of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo featured a cartoon of a terrified Barack Obama fleeing a hail of police bullets, accompanied by the headline ‘Obama, an ordinary citizen once again’. Its message is clear: the eight years served by America’s first black president didn’t result in a more tolerant society but, following the surprise election of Donald Trump, ended with a dangerous groundswell of racism among America’s white population.
Krept And Konan Announce New Album 'Revenge Is Sweet'
Fri 11 Oct 2019
Krept And Konan have lined up a new album.
Kanye West Shares Trailer For Jesus Is King Film
Fri 18 Oct 2019
Kanye West has shared a trailer for his upcoming film.
Ghostface Killah Confirms November Shows In Bristol And London
Thu 03 Oct 2019
Ghostface Killah will return to the UK this autumn.
Earl Sweatshirt Drops Surprise New Project 'Feet Of Clay'
Fri 01 Nov 2019
Earl Sweatshirt has dropped a surprise new project.
Frank Ocean Announces Three New Singles
Mon 21 Oct 2019
Frank Ocean has announced three new singles.
< Prev   Next >