John Legend – Bigger Love
John Legend will always be known for his most famous song All of Me. Even though he’s since released a succession of tunes and one-hit wonders, he’s never quite been able to reclaim the magic which that track held.
Legend’s other albums, most recently a Christmas record in 2018 and before that Darkness and Light in 2016, still do their rounds on the radio and most of us will recognise his silky tones, even if we don’t know the song.
Bigger Love will likely join these ranks. It’s a collection that’s by no means an audacious declaration of love, despite being wholly dedicated to his wife, but it’s not a total flop either.
So, where does that leave us? Well, in conversation with Jimmy Fallon in March this year, Legend said that Bigger Love is likely his “sexiest album to date. If you’re stuck at home and want to make some coronababies… if you spend a lot of time with your partner and you need a soundtrack to that.”
Taking on the theme of love and sex is not a strange quest for Legend. Whereas in Darkness and Light he explores its sharper, harsher and sometimes anxiety-inducing edges, Bigger Love feels like a warm hug rather than a sexually charged embrace.
“Actions speak louder than love songs,” is the repetitive lyric throughout Actions, the second track on the album. It’s catchy, and the punchy melody sets things off on a high note – even if, on reflection, as you make your way through the collection, its lyrics are a little ironic.
Wild shows that Legend’s voice reaches its full potential when paired with equally phenomenal instrumentals. While One Life and Slow Cooker give a nod to classical soul music.
Bigger Love bounces between genres and styles, negotiating its way carefully through soul and RnB for the most part and staying away from the classical ballads he’s famous for. It’s a welcome change and we bob along with him for the next few songs.
That’s until we reach Conversations in the Dark. This is where the album joins the ranks of his others after All of Me, as the song relies on the same sentimental crooning. But this time, his insistence that “I won’t break your heart” and “in my eyes you are perfect” just seems reductive, as though we’ve intruded on a private moment.
Bigger Love is released on 19th June 2020. For further information or to order the album visit John Legend’s website here.