Perhaps best known for the smash hit single “All of Me” and his high-profile marriage to Sport Illustrated model, hilarious tweeter and chef, Chrissy Teigen, John Legend’s fifth studio album release, Darkness and Light, does not disappoint.
Featuring 12 sexy tracks with guest appearances from Chance the Rapper, Miguel and Brittany Howard, Legend puts his sensually rich vocals on full display.
The three most distinct songs on the album happen to be the three tracks featuring guest vocalists; “Penthouse Floor,” “Darkness and Light” and “Overload” each showcases a slightly different sound that Legend fails to incorporate in the rest of the album.
“Penthouse Floor,” featuring Chance the Rapper, starts off with a tropical Jason Mraz, “I’m Yours” feel to it, but gradually moves into what feels like a gospel spell. Chance the Rapper enters the track halfway through with a robust choir backing him up, creating a good vibes only hit.
Immediately following the staccato beats of “Penthouse Floor,” “Darkness and Light” swirls jazz and soul feels into a sensually melodic smooth duet between Legend and Brittany Howard, her soaring vocals impossible to ignore.
Miguel’s cameo comes via “Overload,” another soul-heavy track on the album that makes excellent use of the saxophone to cast the mood as melancholy. Juxtaposed with the slow, mellow “Overload,” Legend amps up the beat in “Love Me Now,” a jam with great beats, soaring vocals and unique instrumentation that demonstrates Legend’s innate ability to meld soul with pop in a way that’s both artful yet marketable to the masses — a necessary evil in the music industry today.
The remaining tracks on Darkness and Light are all great; I could listen to each one several times and not tire of it. However, I don’t think I would be able to differentiate one song from the next. With each track featuring a similar beat, rhythm and instrumentation set-up, it becomes difficult to separate the songs from one another. However, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. With pop music, it’s unreasonable to expect an artist to produce a cohesive album that dually features stylistically distinct songs — and John Legend went the route of producing a great album. Each track is pleasant to listen to on its own and individually contributes to the creation of cohesive and high-quality album; two components that many artists fail to achieve in the fast-paced, market-driven environment dominating the modern music industry.