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John Legend - Legend (Album Review)

Tuesday, 13 September 2022 Written by Jack Terry

Titled 'Legend' and adorned with a sleeve photo of John Legend bathed in a warm golden wash, hands clasped against his bare chest as if to say "welcome back to me", there's something outwardly self-congratulatory about his eighth studio release. 

But across a double album boasting 24 tracks and a runtime of 81 minutes, one question persists: ‘why?’ Just two years on from his last release, this isn't a grand comeback, there’s no overarching theme, and ‘Legend’ doesn’t consist of one disc of lively bangers and one disc of mellow ballads. Instead, it offers a sprawling mishmash that really works when it works, and really doesn’t when it doesn’t.

'Legend' is host to a number of issues. From a sequencing standpoint, the switches from upbeat tracks such as Guy Like Me to the brooding likes of All She Wanna Do are jarring.

And the grocery list of featured artists—11 of the 24 tracks have guest appearances—relegates Legend to playing second fiddle to Rick Ross or Ty Dollar $ign.

And then there are the words. Legend has repeatedly proved that he can write great lyrics but here, he falters. Take Dope for example, which includes such ham-fisted lines as "she’s so dope / she can be my dope queen / we can make a dope scene". It’s pretty pedestrian for a man of his talents.

Yet, despite these criticisms, ‘Legend’ works for one reason: it's human. For all his success, Legend is something of an everyman, albeit a very talented one. Speaking to a wide range of audiences, this LP has a song for every mood: you want to start a party? There's a song for that. You want to soundtrack your dinner? John's got you covered. One thing leading to the next? Don't sweat it, just stick this on. You may just wish he trimmed the fat a little so you could match the desired mood sooner.

John Legend Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Wed April 05 2023 - LONDON Royal Albert Hall
Thu April 06 2023 - LONDON Royal Albert Hall

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