Friday, January 21, 2005

A Legend In The Making

Over Christmas Break, my sister bought John Legend's debut album Get Lifted. I burned a copy of the album for myself before she left to go back to school and have been listening to it. John Legend's album is probably the strongest debut album from a male R&B/Soul artist in years. It also is undoubtedly the strongest debut for any R&B/Soul artist since the likes of Alicia Keys and Jill Scott. Like Alicia Keys, John Legend also plays the piano on many of his songs...but that is where the similarities end. Legend has a strong voice that is showcased here across the tracks. This is far from the "What the hell are you waiting for?" line he sung on Jay-Z's song "Encore." His piano playing is soulful as well. Few artists can pull off a song with minimal backing, but with the new single "Ordinary People" John Legend does just that, performing with only his piano. John Legend is being brought out by Kanye West (Legend's album is also the debut release from Kanye's label Getting Out Our Dreams) and West's stamp is noticeable. "Used To Love U" was produced by Kanye West and while it sounds a bit too similar to other West-produced songs (Most notably "Get By" by Talib Kweli), it's by no means a bad song. Kanye contributes a verse to "Number One" and Snoop Dogg continues his non-gangsta output with his appearance on "I Can Change." The only real negative to the album is that some songs sound similar.

Ultimately, John Legend's Get Lifted album is a strong debut. It's a well-made, well-written, and enjoyable R&B/Soul album. John Legend is sure of himself and displays a style that is uniquely his own. He has the potential to become one of the premier R&B/Soul artists out there. With this artist, Kanye West proves that he can nurture talent just as well as he can produce it. I'm looking forward to G.O.O.D.'s next release, the new album by Common. I'm also looking forward to John Legend's next album.

[Listening to: Number One Spot - Ludacris - The Red Light District (4:34)]

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