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Album Review: Bigger Love by John Legend

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John Roger Stephens, more commonly known by his stage name, John Legend, is an American singer and songwriter. While probably being most well known for his All of Me track, he has been in the music business since the early 2000s. Besides his hit single, he has also appeared as a guest feature on several different tracks. Bigger Love marks John Legend's seventh studio album.

The first track from the album is Ooh Laa. It's a happy and upbeat track that opens up the entire album. According to the producer, he wanted to mix doo-wop, as well as trap music together. So you have the old-time music style mixed with trap-style drum beats. John Legend says that this sets the stage for 'vintage sounds with a modern sensibility.'

Actions starts out with a popular sample that has been used in hip-hop. The actual sample comes from a track titled The Edge by David McCallum. It's the blaring horn intro that you have at the beginning, and then the staccato-like notes. He pays homage to Snoop Dogg with the beginning of the second verse since Snoop Dogg has used the sample before. The message of the track talks about how actions are more important than writing love songs for someone.

I Do marks the shortest track on the album, just a little under three minutes in length. The track is minimalistic in nature with a wavy electronic instrumental in the background. With John's soothing vocals, this is a great laid back track to listen to. The lyrics and beat are repetitive, but it isn't a bad case for this track.

Next, we have One Life. John is a big fan of Anderson .Paak and I can definitely see the influence in this track. Anderson .Paak was also able to collaborate with John and write this track together. Not quite the same vocals as him, but the grooviness on the track is definitely comparable during the chorus. Judging by the message of the track, he talks about only having one life and making the most of it.

Wild features none other than Gary Clark Jr. It's only an instrumental feature from him, but not a bad addition to the track. With the booming chorus and singers during the chorus, it just adds that much more emotion and seems oddly familiar to me. This is your typical love song that John Legend has used over the years.

After that, we come to the title track, Bigger Love. The track starts out pretty quiet, with just a simple drumbeat in the background. It eventually grows in intensity during the chorus where he relays the track's message. He said that this track title was perfect for the title of the album since it's has a variety of genres at the global level.

U Move, I Move features Jhené Aiko. This track was originally going to be a solo track, but he felt like adding a female for the duet aspect since the track is about two lovers. That being said, she's another great addition to the album. It's about two lovers being madly in love with each other and being so lucky to have that other person in their life.

We come back to another sub-three minute track, Favorite Place. This track definitely has more of a trap influence to it, with almost a rapping style from John. I honestly wish this track was a bit longer with the energy and danceability of it. Other than that, there's not too much to say about this track since it has a similar message to some of the other tracks on the album.

Slow Cooker starts out as a smooth and slowed down track. According to the original writer on the track, this song is about people who take a slow approach to life and take a while to think about things. However, John Legend wanted to make the track 'sexier.' He added a little more of his love lyrics in there. I also enjoy the small trumpet and horn sections that are sprinkled in the track. They aren't overpowering, but just enough to spice it up.

Focused is the next track from the album. According to the artist himself, this song was written about three years ago, especially since it has more of an acoustic feeling to it. He said this is supposed to be like an Otis Redding track. He talks about focusing on the only person that matters to him in his life.

Conversations in the Dark sounds like another slowed and acoustic track from the album. It's mostly just composed of acoustic guitars and a piano. While most of the track wasn't written by John Legend, he did change some of the lyrics so it would a little more personal to him and his wife. It's also one of his wife's favorite tracks of his since his All of Me track.

After that, we come back to more of the energetic dance-like tracks on Don't Walk Away. Since John Legend worked with a Jamaican producer for this track, he decided to get a Jamaican artist as a feature. I wasn't huge on Koffee's feature at first, but it is slowly growing on me. I guess we'll see if I end up liking this track more down the road.

Remember Us is a very soulful track with Rapsody. John Legend met her during a weekend at the Grammys. I do think she's an odd feature to have on this track with her rapping. I don't think it meshes well, but apparently, John does. Other than that, the message talks about remembering the good times and never letting go of the memories.

I'm Ready starts off with a lengthy opening of 'ooh' vowels. It's another soulful and slowed down track that is pretty minimalistic in nature. I don't really enjoy this track that much. It doesn't really add too much in value at this point in the album.

Always opens up with almost an electronic like string instrument in the background. This track was created back in 2011, but John Legend added some more instruments to make it more modern. I actually really enjoyed that they decided to look over this track again because it really fits the motive and message of the album.

The last track from the album is Never Break. It's a simple track with the piano and a chorus of voices. While he said the track was written back in 2019, it still has an important message of love and hope during the pandemic and protests.

While the beginning of the album was amazing, I started to get burnt out and bored during the second half of the album. It seemed like there were a lot of filler tracks as the album went on and that he didn't contribute anything new. If some of the boring and less adventurous tracks were removed from the album, I think it would have had more potential.
Overall Rating: 7/10
Favorite Tracks: Actions, I Do, One Life, Favorite Place, Always

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