By Tristan Weisenbach
Arts & Entertainment Assistant Editor
Singer, songwriter and “The Voice” coach John Legend released his latest self-titled album “LEGEND” on Friday, incorporating many different genres of music into one diverse collection of songs.
The album, which features a total of twelve other artists including JID, Jhené Aiko and Rick Ross, blends together the traditional sounds of R&B and soul with upbeat, energetic rhythms often found in pop music. Legend, who is typically known to both produce and release R&B music, seems to be branching out into other genres.
By featuring so many artists throughout the 24-track album, Legend has shown his capability of collaborating with other big-name artists of different musical genres to develop a more widespread emotional composition. The song “Splash,” which features Ty Dolla $ign, blends pop and classical styles with upbeat instrumentation and a mellow piano outro. “All She Wanna Do” is another light, casual pop song that includes fun, flirty vocals from Saweetie.
“LEGEND,” however, is also filled with emotional and heartfelt vocals on a number of tracks. In the song titled “Memories,” Legend’s lyrics discuss how fulfilling it is to make long-lasting memories. The song touches on soberness and how genuine love can sprout from simply spending quality time with someone: “And now that it’s over/And we’re finally sober/We made memories.”
“Stardust” is a song that highlights Legend’s full, raw vocals accompanied by soft yet powerful strings and piano. Lyrically, he stresses the importance of love that is built upon trust and acceptance in lines such as “Tell me what you’re hiding/I’ll love you just the same.” This message resonates with listeners, reassuring them that no matter who they are, they are unique and “made of stardust.”
Legend’s song “Good” is an uplifting and peaceful duet between himself and featured singer Ledisi. The song incorporates many aspects of soul music, and again, has very raw and impressive vocals. The two emphasize how “good” it feels to be happy and optimistic while also expressing how frightening it may be to start down a good path in life after having previously dealt with trauma or disappointment.
The album wraps up with a deeply emotional and loving track, titled “Home,” in which Legend’s lyrics are directed towards someone he deeply cares about. He reassures them that he will always be there “As long as [his] heart is beating.” The dramatic string accompaniment to Legend’s prominent vocals throughout this song makes for a perfect ending to an album filled with a wide range of emotions.
In an Instagram post, Legend reflected on his thoughts and intentions behind this album, saying that his goal was to make this a “vulnerable, spiritual and reflective” collection of tracks. He credited his wife, Chrissy Tiegen, along with his family for being the main inspirations for his latest music.
John Legend’s self-titled album explores the ups and downs of life through his usage of many different genres of music. In a world of uncertainty like we live in today, Legend presents his listeners with a message of reassurance and hope, encouraging them to make the best of any situation and to cherish their close relationships and loved ones.