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You can't match the smoothness of John Legend. He's a pop king, as it stands. His new album Darkness and Light is a furthering of his pop sensibility and his swagger.
John Legend has five albums under his belt now, and Darkness and Light is the pinnacle of his smoothness. It's full of sweet textures and driven instrumentals that really bring his character to life. It's kicked off by 'I Know Better,' introducing the record with Legend's rich timbre and a soulful instrumental. The piano bursts strongly above the organ keyboard, enriching the song's sonic nature. Other songs really capture the sweetness the record wants to exude: 'Overload' with Miguel is very sincere, background harmonies supporting the soothing story of the track, and 'Penthouse Floor' with Chance The Rapper bringing some funk and combining it with the sweetness of the other tracks.
There's some variation in the album, though. It's not all about being smooth. Pulsating bass kicks up the momentum with 'What You Do To Me,' Legend's swaying vocal line really complimenting the background orchestra. The record comes with bluesy tones, too, 'Right By You (For Luna)' calmly starting before its mysterious textures really come to the light. 'Same Old Story' has the composition of a Bon Iver track, glitching pianos resonating before a vocoder starts distorting the vocals in a blissful manner. The title track 'Darkness and Light' gives a darker aesthetic to the album's initial soundscape, too, Alabama Shakes' Brittany Howard bringing a southern, sensual rock twang to the track.
The album is rooting in sweet love. There are several songs that make the most out of their sweetness - 'Surefire' is the pinnacle of it all, combining the best of the record into one fantastically pure track. It's all in the smoothly progressing guitar and bass, carrying the song in a very sweet and peaceful way as John Legend sings introspectively and with want, strings providing a little extra punch to it.
John Legend is a popstar in the most lowkey of ways. His music is huge as a result of how raw his messages are. It's all about love when it's coming from him - Darkness and Light sees the highs and lows of it, relating to everyone in someway. It plays through with few moments of energy, but its emotion stays strong throughout.
Favorite Tracks: Surefire, Darkness and Light, What You Do To Me
Least Favorite Track: Marching Into The Dark
Rating: 72 / 100