Album Preview: John Legend – ‘Evolver’

Don’t let the innocent face fool you. John Legend has been sneaky behind the scenes, perfecting his recipe for yet another chart-ripping R&B album. Still getting lifted off of his first two efforts? Get ready to take another hit because he’s in the studio this summer putting the finishing touches on his third joint, Evolver—due out October 28th—and it promises quality.

You’ve probably heard the first single “Green Light” on the radio by now, and probably turned it up when you caught a taste of André 3000’s verse. The all-star cameos on this new album, which also include Kanye West and Legend’s protégé Estelle, are no surprise and neither are the content of his ballads. However, the beats are fresh and will catch you off guard when it comes to versatility. This is definitely not going to be your average R&B album, but then again his name ain’t John Average.

Rap-Up.com got an exclusive sneak peek at a few tracks off of Evolver and wanted to share the juice with fans, so here it is:

1. “Greenlight” featuring André 3000

Surprise, surprise—they picked the club banger as the first single. It’s catchy and flirty though, without going overboard (Who “makes love” in the club?). A confident Legend calls a female’s bluff when she plays coy on the dance floor.

2. “Everybody Knows”

On this mid-tempo number, something like an acoustic song on Red Bull, the crooner laments about a failed relationship. “I wish we gave it one more try,” he sings, with a sentiment similar to “Ordinary People.”

3. “It’s Over” featuring Kanye West

If you thought you tasted bitter when he sang about how he “used to love” her, then you better be ready with a spoon full of Splenda. The upbeat electro-infused track produced by Pharrell is about saying goodbye and good riddance, complete with obnoxious quips from Kanye, revving it up just enough to reach smug and still retain some humor. Kanye raps that the relationship is over “like Jay-Z and Def Jam.”

4. “This Time”

Super sweet, but not convincing in comparison to the rest of the more seemingly genuine tracks. It’s a syrupy ballad about how he wants to do the relationship right the second time around. He sings, “This time I want it all.”

5. “No Other Love” featuring Estelle

One of the strongest, yet most laid-back tracks thus far. Laced with a classic riddim, Legend and Estelle go back and forth, proclaiming their playful devotion to each other. “Wanna give you my love and affection, you got my attention,” he sways, borrowing some reggae swagger to induce an island love vibe.

–Rajul Punjabi in New York