The dark & the light

The dark & the light

Music review

The dark & the light

R&B and soul singer John Legend is truly a legend with 10 Grammy awards. Even before his debut album, he had a series of successful collaborations with established artistes like Kanye West, Jay Z, Alicia Keys and Lauryn Hill to name a few.

His new album ‘Darkness and Light’, as the title indicates, contains both dark songs and light songs. The album begins with ‘I Know Better’, a gospel-tinged song in which he deprecates himself:

‘Legend is just a name, I know better than to be so proud, I won’t drink in all this fame, Or take more love than I’m allowed.’

He lets his fans know that he takes his success lightly. ‘Penthouse Floor’ has a catchy dance beat reminiscent of Stevie Wonder. It also features Chance the Rapper. It is an objective look at wealth.

The title track ‘Darkness and Light’ is a duet with Brittany Howard. Their voices blend well together, rising to a crescendo of a chorus. ‘Overload’ is a subtly layered duet with R&B singer Miguel.

In the anthemic R&B romantic track, ‘Love Me Now’, Legend demonstrates that he can still make a catchy pop track, although the words suggest the fear of losing love.

‘What You Do to Me’, which makes use of synths, is not his usual style. It is a love-hate song instead. ‘Surefire’ has choir, synths, reverberating percussion, and is a song about sticking together:

‘I may not know a lot of things, but I know that we’re surefire’.

‘Right By You’ (for his baby Luna) is a piano ballad for his daughter, an expression of both hope and apprehension of what lies ahead in the future for her.

In contrast to the other songs, the closing song ‘Marching Into the Dark’ has a surrealistic funky groove, something which is peppy.