John Legend – Bigger Love (2020) [FLAC 24bit/44,1kHz]

John Legend – Bigger Love (2020)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 55:51 minutes | 626 MB | Genre: R&B
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Columbia

“These songs are about joy, hope, and resilience,” John Legend tells Apple Music. “The power of the human spirit.” His upbeat seventh album Bigger Love was largely recorded in 2019, before a pandemic and mass protests swept the globe, but its message is no less relevant or uplifting: Love wins. Shaped by the same wrecking crew from his blockbuster Christmas album, including Raphael Saadiq as executive producer, the songs here serve as a bridge between vintage and modern Black music; he hat-tips The Flamingos and Marvin Gaye, reimagines trap drums, and flirts with Afro-Caribbean rhythms. Equally exciting are the young hitmakers (Tayla Parx, Cautious Clay, and Anderson .Paak are a few) and clever collaborations (bluesman Gary Clark Jr., rising reggae sensation Koffee) peppered throughout, making these instant classics feel unmistakably now.

John Legend albums aren’t quite as eagerly-awaited as they were ten or fifteen years ago. That’s perhaps what’s driven him to try mixing genres. With Bigger Love, his seventh album, he tries out fusing trap and soul on Ooh Laa, then ostensibly covers the famous intro to Dr. Dre’s The Next Episode on Actions. In fact, right from the start of this new project, it’s clear that he’s not trying to create something new. This is both the strength and weakness of Bigger Love. The artists that inspire him are already a little outdated, like when he sounds like Drake on the eponymous track. He’s trying to be modern, but his awkwardness suggests an endearing sincerity, almost as if he’s unable to change. The problem is that even though that gives us brilliant tracks such as Remember Us, a duet with Rapsody, or the soulful Slow Cooker, we’re also served up some overly-sentimental ballads. Conversation in the Dark and Never Break should perhaps be avoided, though they don’t reflect the colourful spectrum of this album packed with contrasts. – Brice Miclet

1. John Legend – Ooh Laa (02:59)
2. John Legend – Actions (02:54)
3. John Legend – I Do (02:47)
4. John Legend – One Life (03:14)
5. John Legend & Gary Clark Jr. – Wild (03:16)
6. John Legend – Bigger Love (02:50)
7. John Legend – U Move, I Move (feat. Jhené Aiko) (03:43)
8. John Legend – Favorite Place (02:48)
9. John Legend – Slow Cooker (04:22)
10. John Legend – Focused (03:02)
11. John Legend – Conversations in the Dark (03:55)
12. John Legend & Koffee – Don’t Walk Away (03:40)
13. John Legend & Rapsody – Remember Us (04:51)
14. John Legend – I’m Ready (feat. Camper) (03:51)
15. John Legend – Always (03:26)
16. John Legend – Never Break (04:13)