Sade’s show in Louisville a couple of years ago offered an unexpected wealth of pleasures, not the least of which was opening act John Legend. Legend was going up against one of the truly great bedroom balladeers in Sade, but comfortably held his own against a master.
“Love in the Future” is a blueprint for how he pulled it off. It’s an elaborate love letter to his super-model girlfriend (although any girlfriend will do), that smoothly splices lust and romance, past and present. There are plenty of similar records, including those in Legend’s own catalog, so its relative worth comes down to vibe, execution and the songs.
“Love in the Future” delivers on all three counts, but is far from revelatory — it’s simply a very good soundtrack to seduction, ultimately as generic as it is effective. Legend’s superbly retro singing is framed in subtly modern production — surprisingly subtle, considering that Kanye is executive producer — but it all feels static coming a decade into Legend’s career.
The outlier in Legend’s catalog is 2010’s “Wake Up!,” a visceral, satisfying collaboration with The Roots. Once the sun has come up and the super-model has gone home, check it out.
— Jeffrey Lee Puckett, The Courier-Journal