Evolver

Album Review of Evolver by John Legend.

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Evolver

John Legend

Evolver by John Legend

Release Date: Oct 28, 2008
Record label: Sony
Genre(s): R&B, Soul

58 Music Critic Score
How the Music Critic Score works

Evolver - Average, Based on 6 Critics

NOW Magazine - 80
Based on rating 4/5
80

Today's exemplar of smooth, John Legend continues on his third album to write the new manual for men wanting to seduce. [rssbeak] Famous for his soulful R&B ballads and seamless arrangements, Legend adds a few new elements on Evolver: a bit of pop, reggae and even a little funk. Andre 3000, Brandy and Estelle contribute without overpowering, and Legend's lyrics have evolved from the usual uplifting prose to a more provocative stance, as when he begs women everywhere to "show me your bed." He even gets a little political, helping the Democrats out with If You're Out There.

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The Guardian - 60
Based on rating 3/5
60

Despite the title, John Legend's third album finds him once again treading the line between soul and hip-hop with dexterity. There are plenty of highlights: Quickly, an urgent, aqueous duet with Brandy; No Other Love, on which Legend trades sweet everythings with Estelle over a relaxed reggae lope; Greenlight, whose skittery beats and swooning synths recall Kelis's 2004 hit, Millionaire (both, uncoincidentally, feature André 3000). If You're Out There, meanwhile, finds Legend plunging bodily into political waters (it is also available as a free download from Barack Obama's website).

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Entertainment Weekly - 51
Based on rating C
51

Set in a dilapidated Veterans Administration hospital, Article 99 may be the first medical melodrama that isn’t about dedicated physicians performing life-saving acts of valor. It’s about dedicated physicians not performing life- saving acts of valor: Their hands are tied by the crisis in veterans’ health care — the calamitous lack of funding, the red tape, the increasingly prevalent policy of refusing to cover conditions (such as heart problems) that aren’t directly related to military service. To function as doctors, the movie’s heroes have to become outlaws in their own hospital.

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AllMusic - 40
Based on rating 4/10
40

Evolver is more clever and appealing as an album title than Dabbler, yet the latter would be much more emblematic of John Legend's third studio album. Legend is up-front about his lane changes, not just by admitting to the press that it does not sound like him, but also through the album's lead single. "Green Light," decked out in giddy synthesizers à la Paul McCartney's tolerated-or-loathed "A Wonderful Christmas Time" (or, OK, the glitziest part of Kanye West's "Flashing Lights"), sounds like an increasingly bad fit with each play, full of simpleminded gestures ("Dying to meet you/So let's mess around") while benefiting from André 3000's upstaging, off-the-cuff, don't-give-a-damn appearance.

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Paste Magazine
Their review was positive

Future LegendBy Christine Van DusenI want to be Gabrielle, the girl whose sad eyes captivate John Legend, inspiring him to request a dance and then offer an escape from life’s depressing difficulties. And I’m seduced by “Take Me Away,” just one of several strong, sexy and sometimes surprising tracks on Evolver. Known for his skills on the keys and a voice that retains a lovely purity, even in falsetto territory, Legend does indeed evolve with this record.

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Paste Magazine
Their review was negative

Future LegendBy Christine Van DusenI want to be Gabrielle, the girl whose sad eyes captivate John Legend, inspiring him to request a dance and then offer an escape from life’s depressing difficulties. And I’m seduced by “Take Me Away,” just one of several strong, sexy and sometimes surprising tracks on Evolver. Known for his skills on the keys and a voice that retains a lovely purity, even in falsetto territory, Legend does indeed evolve with this record.

Full Review >>