On his latest project, Love In the Future, John Legend hits the ground running with consecutive strong tracks to open the album. There is the perfect mix of old and new school flavor-- not so slow that it will put you to sleep, but not so fast that listeners forget they are listening to R&B. The tempo of Love in the Future sits somewhere in that beautiful space between.
The title track, which is actually just an intro, sets the optimistic tone for the album with:
This is a new year/For love/ Love in the future/ Not the love I lost
Fittingly, the intro leads into "The Beginning." Here Legend offers assurance that this is the beginning of forever, with a future so bright that it will change the world.
Next is an excellent cover of the Bobby Caldwell classic "Open your Eyes." A theme becomes apparent here. Songs not only about love, but about moving forward in love and forsaking the past are in abundance. Future seems to be following the script of Legend's real life. The singer is set to marry his longtime girlfriend, and fiance since 2011, very soon.
With this connection established, "Made to Love" falls right into place and is one of the best songs on the album as a rhythmic, yet soulful ode to destiny. Legend sings with conviction:
Have you ever known/ When you laid your eyes on/ The perfect work of art/ I knew right from the start/ I was never sure of a God before/ But I know he must exist/ He created this
The soon-to-be husband is certain that he was sent here for this woman, and she was sent for him. They were made to love.
"Who Do We Think We Are" follows with a retro sound and Rick Ross feature. Who knew "The Boss" could fit in so well on such a track? His verse flows nicely.
The strong start begins to fade somewhat with a the pop-sounding track, "All Of Me" which feels arranged and written a little too perfectly. However, even songs such as this are worth listening to. Just a slight departure from the direction Future seemed to be heading previously.
No need to panic though. "Hold On Longer" and "Save the Night" quickly get things back on track and the album remains fairly consistent from this point on.
With its sultry originality, "Asylum," may have been a stronger ending than the more vanilla "Caught Up." Nonetheless, Love In the Future is a great album filled with soulful conveyance of heartfelt emotion. It is sexy, creative, fresh and everything else fans love to hear from John Legend-- providing validation for its own optimism.