Results for John Legend

reviews
Once AgainGet Lifted available on iTunes

John Legend Get Lifted

The second album up for review this week also charted high on Billboard. John Legend's new album, Once Again, debuted at number three, following My Chemical Romance. Legend received a lot of acclaim, as well as a number of Grammy Awards, for his first release, Get Lifted. So, the pressure was on for this sophomore effort. Both Jim and Greg think Legend is a really wonderful songwriter who brings R&B back to its heyday. And both critics find tracks like "Show Me" (which had surprising inspirations in Jeff Buckley and Sufjan Stevens) to be standouts. But neither felt that Legend was really doing anything new. Therefore Jim only recommends listeners Burn It. Greg agrees that Once Again gives listeners much of the same, but he thinks the same is pretty good. He gives it a Buy It rating.

JimGreg
Go to episode 49
Wake Up!Wake Up! available on iTunes

The Roots Wake Up!

During the Obama campaign R&B singer John Legend and hip hop group The Roots were inspired by the African-American community's rich tradition of socially conscious protest music. So they decided to put together an album of covers of these funk, soul and reggae gems called Wake Up! Legend and The Roots really show their encyclopedic knowledge of music with their choices, which, Greg notes, are not the big hits by artists like Donny Hathaway and Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes. He appreciates that scholarship and hopes this will turn a new generation on to these artists. But, his main issue is that they don't transcend the original. So he gives Wake Up! a Burn It rating. Jim has major problems with Legend's vocal performance, which doesn't match the emotional content of the songs. He wonders if he has a“tin ear”and gives the record a Trash It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 251
EvolverEvolver available on iTunes

John Legend Evolver

The first album up for review this week is Evolver by R&B artist John Legend. Legend first emerged on the scene after touring with Kanye West and has since released two successful albums. On this third one Greg thinks the title may be overly optimistic.“Evolver”implies growth, but Greg hears more of the same, and even less so. This is Legend's most commercial sounding record, and if Greg were going to assign it a color it would be beige. Jim agrees about the blandness of this album. He essentially“hates”the boring, mid-tempo sound and feels betrayed by Legend, an artist who at one point had so much promise. Evolver gets a Trash It from Jim and a Try It from Greg.

JimGreg
Go to episode 152
Chance

Chance The Rapper The Big Day

Chance The Rapper's“debut album,”The Big Day, is one of the most anticipated albums of 2019. His third mixtape, Coloring Book, was the first streaming-only release to win a Grammy award- three, in fact, including Rap Album of the Year. Since then Chance has expanded his focus beyond music: producing stadium concerts, supporting local politicians, donating $1 million to Chicago Public Schools and buying the news website, Chicagoist. The Big Day features many guest performers including Death Cab For Cutie, Shawn Mendes, Gucci Mane, Nicki Minaj, John Legend and Randy Newman.

At 19 songs (plus three skits) and 82 minutes running time, Jim and Greg agree the album is too long. The Big Day is referencing Chance's recent wedding to his longtime girlfriend, which is the most common topic discussed in the songs. Some critics consider the subject matter uncool, though Greg doesn't count himself among them. Jim and Greg both cite the confessional lyrics of "We Go High" as a noble gesture of honesty, but ultimately find the treatment of weighty topics such as fidelity, mortality and parenthood lack depth. They both feel Chance is capable of much more complexity in his lyrics, though they find the production and performances on most songs to be very enjoyable. Jim says with more brutal honesty, this album could have been a masterpiece. Greg acknowledges that with so much celebration and without deep reflection the album can be a chore to get through.

JimGreg
Go to episode 714
lists

Turkey Shoot 2008

On Thanksgiving most Americans give thanks for things like their loved ones and their health. But at Sound Opinions we like to take this opportunity to give thanks of a different variety. During this Turkey Shoot segment Jim, Greg and some listeners give thanks that they‘ll never have to hear the year’s most disappointing albums again. These are records that had great potential, but fell flat. Say farewell to the following Turkeys:

  • R.E.M., Accelerate
  • My Morning Jacket, Evil Urges
  • Brian Wilson, That Lucky Old Sun
  • The Raconteurs, Consolers of the Lonely

Our listeners“shoot”the following:

  • Weezer, S/T (The Red Album)
  • John Legend, Evolver
  • Beck, Modern Guilt

For more Turkeys, check out the Sound Opinions Message Board.

Go to episode 157

Valentine's Day

It's Valentine's Day, and one of the most important elements to“Set the Mood”is, of course, music. Jim and Greg play their favorite mood setters:

Go to episode 220

Greg's Mixtape: A Curse I Cannot Lift

  1. Lindsey Buckingham, "I Am Waiting." A cover of a relatively obscure Rolling Stones track from "Aftermath" sets the mood of sunrise expectation and apprehension.“I am waiting … waiting for someone to come out of somewhere.”
  2. Midlake, "Roscoe." An echo from Lindsey Buckingham's past? The sound is mid-'70s Fleetwood Mac: dusky folk-rock. I can imagine Christine McVie doing a perfect cover of this song. The song is set in 1891, like a dream about a more innocent time.
  3. The Decemberists, "The Crane Wife 3." Still in the past, still dreaming, but the innocence turns to despair.
  4. Dirty on Purpose, "Car No-Drive." Wake up. Morning rush hour. This song sounds like it's pouring from the windows of a passing subway train. We're going somewhere…
  5. Rhymefest, "Bullet." To Iraq. Turn on the TV, and we see young recruits wondering how they ended up in a desert in the Middle East fighting a war they don't understand.
  6. Serena-Maneesh, "Drain Cosmetics." A sandstorm of guitars.
  7. Secret Machines, "Lightning Blue Eyes." Then tunneling out, and into the sunlight where "I felt awake, I was way out."
  8. Parts and Labor, "A Great Divide." A call to arms, a dividing line in the mix, day becomes night.
  9. TV on the Radio, "Wolf Like Me." Silhouettes dash against the moon —“Got a curse I cannot lift.”
  10. The Roots, "In the Music." A sinister night vibe, as low-riders slink through skyscraper canyons.
  11. Nelly Furtado, "Maneater." Where all sorts of nightcrawlers roam …
  12. Justin Timberlake, "What Goes Around/Comes Around." And a reckoning goes down — "I can‘t believe it’s ending this way."
  13. Van Hunt, "If I Take You Home." The night winds down, uneasy partners match up…
  14. Love is All, "Make Out Fall Out Make Up." The hangover aftermath —"I think I'll spend all day in bed."
  15. Gnarls Barkley, "Gone Daddy Gone." "Love is gone away."
  16. John Legend, "Show Me." A morning prayer for guidance.
  17. Beyoncé, "Irreplaceable." And she's ready to move on, a new day begins…
Go to episode 56
rock doctors

Julie

For what has become a recurring segment on Sound Opinions, Jim and Greg again don their white lab coats and assume the role of Rock Doctors. This week's patient is Julie, a listener who needs Drs. Kot and DeRogatis to prescribe some new music for her ailing ears. Julie consumes a steady (and stale) diet of Stevie Wonder, Ella Fitzgerald and Lauryn Hill.

So, what do Jim and Greg prescribe to bring Julie into 2006?

Jim keys into how Julie appreciates Ella Fitzgerald's vocals and recommends L'Altra. He knows this is a risky (non-FDA) approved medication, but thought he'd go out on a limb and ask Julie to check out the latest album from the Chicago duo. His second remedy is D'Angelo's Voodoo. He knows Julie likes dense, layered R&B like that of Lauryn Hill and Stevie Wonder, and thinks Voodoo, though much darker and moodier, is one of the best R&B records made in the last decade.

Greg also keys into Julie's appreciation for songwriting and strong vocals, and gives her a dose of Jill Scott. He thinks that the patient will appreciate the way Scott describes the world and the way she playfully uses her voice. His second prescription is John Legend's debut album Get Lifted. Though Legend is often compared to singer/songwriters like Stevie Wonder, Greg thinks he brings that genre forward in a wonderful way.

A week later the patient returns to the Rock Doctors to let them know how she's progressing. While she appreciated the Jill Scott record, she found the songs almost too clever. Still, she wasn‘t completely turned off by this remedy, and also understood why Jim would prescribe her the D’Angelo — but that didn‘t really hit the spot. In fact, she completely forgot that she bought and listened to this album years ago. L’Altra overwhelmingly had the worst side effect. This patient can appreciate alternative medicine, but even a spoonful of sugar didn‘t help this album go down. By far the big winner of the bunch was John Legend’s Get Lifted; Julie loved this album. Sound Opinions hopes that it was just the right cure to keep her healthy and full of good, new music.

Go to episode 44
news

Music News

No matter what you thought of this year's Oscars, Grammys or Superbowl, one thing is certain: TV sells. After Common and John Legend's emotional performance at the Academy Awards, industry forecasters predict a big sales bump for the winning tune "Glory." Just a few hours after the ceremony ended, the song was projected to post a 70% gain. Jim and Greg predict similar success for Lady Gaga, who wowed skeptics with her "Sound of Music" belting. Music from the Grammys is also going like gangbusters. Album of the Year winner Beck has enjoyed a 483% sales increase. And, Nostalgia, the new album by Grammy performer Annie Lennox, shot up 335%. But perhaps most curious of them all is the musical effect of the Superbowl. Albums and songs by halftime performer Katy Perry experienced a 92% sales boost.

Dr. Dre aarp

In other news, happy 50th birthday Dr. Dre! The rapper and entrepreneur celebrated with an appearance on the front page of AARP. That's right…the magazine for the American Association of Retired Persons. But, while that is certain to make a lot of music fans feel old, no one is in a better position to retire than the hip hop O.G. He again topped Forbes' list for the highest paid musicians of the year with a whopping $620 million earned.

Go to episode 483