Album Review: Darkness and Light – John Legend

Clear. Pure. Soulful.

These are the three key words to describe a John Legend album. Question now is, what makes his new album special?


For the first time in 2014, I bought a John Legend CD. It’s Love in The Future. It’s his fourth “love diary” album with his most successful record to date – All of Me. His fifth album, Darkness and Light, still contains his sound signature but its overall substance evolves into something more mature.

Track 1: I Know Better

The album opens with a powerful track about retrospection. John looks back and reviews how he travels life. He admits his mistakes but no one stops him from being confident and resilient.

5 of 5 stars!

Track 2: Penthouse Floor ft. Chance The Rapper

This is my instant favorite. It’s groovy. It’s smooth. It’s sexy. Somehow, it reminds me of Green Light, not sure why.

5 of 5 stars!

Track 3: Darkness and Light ft. Brittany Howard

The album’s track title is a shocker. It sounds like an experimental sound but when it starts to get on you, it crawls on you. The flow goes light, goes dark, goes light and goes dark.

3.5 of 5 stars!

Track 4: Overload ft. Miguel

This is a classic soul from John Legend. It’s his comfort zone; therefore, it’s golden. It’s just becomes overload.

3.5 of 5 stars!

Track 5: Love Me Now

This is the kind of track that carries the entire album to the right direction. John sings it with conviction but with a mix of vulnerability.

5 of 5 stars! 

Track 6: What You Do To Me

It’s one hell of a sex song but wait, it’s a classy one. John seems to enjoy it despite of the love and hate.

4 of 5 stars!

Track 7: Surefire

The piping sound reminds me of Peter Pan when he’s calling his Lost boys. Though this song is best remembered for its smooth lyrics, which talks about the imperfection of a relationship.

5 of 5 stars!

Track 8: Right By You (for Luna)

Sweet. This is his song for his baby daughter. It’s filled with questions, with anxiety, with wondering. In the end, it’s about fatherhood. John Legend sees the big picture.

4 of 5 stars!

Track 9: Temporarily Painless

This is my favorite. The first time I heard it, I notice a friendly pattern of sounds painlessly mixed with John’s pure vocals. His voice feels like he follows the sound like a maze.

5 of 5 stars!

Track 10: How Can I Blame You

This is one insightful song about life. It talks to you like a friend, convincing you to feel thankful with what you already have.

3.5 of 5 stars!

Track 11: Same Old Story

It’s a good story. Just old and repetitive. Yet, John puts a soulful spin to it and make it his own truth.

3 of 5 stars!

Track 12: Marching Into The Darkness

John closes the album with layers of questions. What if, what if and more what ifs – Maybe life is full of what if, right? At times, we see light. At times, we see darkness. It remains imperfect.

4 of 5 stars!

Overall Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars!

As expected, John Legend made a good comeback with Darkness and Light. I’m waiting for him to push his sound signature to another level but it seems he needs more preparations.

The album cover seems to summarize what the album is about. It reveals John Legend gets there, still there, but not quite far to reach the pinnacle.

Photo Courtesy of: Facebook

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