Five albums into a career peppered with syrupy love songs, Darkness and Light opens with a statement of intent.
“They say sing what you know, but I’ve sung what they want,” John Legend reflects on the sparse gospel of I Know Better, setting the tone for an album that interweaves the personal with 2016’s general aura of despondency (the closing song is called Marching into the Dark).
Even when he’s in his comfort zone of singing about love, the production, most of which was handled by Alabama Shakes collaborator Blake Mills, pushes the songs slightly off-kilter, surrounding the excellent Surefire with jagged strings, while the glistening Temporarily Painless blossoms around Legend’s emotionally rich vocal. A late 2016 highlight.
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