Once Again, here’s John Legend

by Ed Lau on November 23, 2006

Here in Canada, we have a dude by the name of Michael Buble, an old-school, Sinatra-style crooner with a real great voice. However, unlike The Chairman of the Board, he’s just not cool. You’ll never hear Jay-Z rapping about him or rhyming his name with “shot ya”…and not just because his name doesn’t rhyme with “shot ya”. Buble is the male version of Norah Jones. Rather talented but also rather boring and destined to be on the playlist of seniors and women…mostly senior women. Speaking as a dude, I wondered if other dudes thought if there was someone with an equally great old school voice but didn’t make you feel like an old lady if you were to walk into a record store to purchase the CD…or even off iTunes.

And for the record, I do not own a Michael Buble CD…

Fortunately for us, there’s John Legend. Let me say that first and foremost, I originally thought he was rather overrated. His first album Get Lifted was decent and had a couple great songs such as the absolutely amazing Let’s Get Lifted and Ordinary People but all in all, I didn’t think the album was good enough to garner three Grammys…even though Grammys mean, well, just about nothing.

However, on Once Again, Legend (born John Stevens) puts together a great album, opening with the first single Save Room, which perfectly shows off Legend’s great old school voice over a smooth organ and bass guitar beat. Dudes, if you want to get your ladies in that mood, this is the sort of thing to play. Skip the cheesy Let’s Get It On or Babyface stuff and lay down some of this smooth track. It’s subtle and classy. For lack of a better word, this is trying-to-get
-you’re-trying music. It’s romantic without the cliche, class and old school without the mothballs.

This is Legend at his best, showing that a classic style works in today’s culture. Other highlight tracks include Slow Dance, a throwback tribute to Motown and the Temptations. The quirky P.D.A. (We Just Don’t Care) shows off Legend’s strange fusion of new and old school, mixing a modern drum and clap dance beat with a beautiful piano melody. C’mon…any song glorifying public displays of affection has to be interesting. Coming Home almost seems like a blantant rip-off of Michael Buble’s similarly titled Home but Legend has an intangible “cool” factor that Buble just doesn’t have. That being said…Legend is more interesting but Buble will probably sell more records. Maxine is a jumpy, Elvis Costello-style ballad about a man finding his seeing his woman cheating on him although the tone and tempo of the song alludes to completely different mood.

The second single shows definete production by Legend’s friend Kanye West. Heaven‘s beat is Kanye adapted to Legend’s silky smooth style. The song is a strange one but you almost wish that Kanye either stepped it up a bit or just left it alone entirely. The following track, Stereo, displays a much harder beat, Legend steps up his voice almost to a shout at times. These two tracks don’t really mesh well with the rest of Once Again.

Either way, the album is stellar and better than Legend’s first. The lyrics are simple at times but each track is well produced and Legend’s mix of new and old school crooner voice shines. Gentlemen, this is the disc to play when you take your ladies out…or even if you stay in.

in Entertainment

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