Soulful vocalist and ubiquitous music-video fixture John Legend follows his acclaimed debut “Get Lifted” with “Once Again,” an equally mellow sophomore album and one which doesn’t alter his proven formula so much as stretch it in subtle new directions.
Legend is understandably more visible this time around and his terrific first single, “Save Room,” doesn’t disappoint; riding a supple Seventies groove, complete with organ and flute, the spare instrumentation highlights Legend’s high, smoky tenor to fantastic effect. The piercing “Stereo” is a bitter, resigned commentary on the ladies of the road while “P.D.A. (We Just Don’t Care)” is a sun-dappled ode to suckin’ face in public.
As the record progresses, you might want for something to interrupt the flow of smooth, competent R&B, but damned if Legend doesn’t deviate; willfully treading this narrow path could result in diminished returns at some point, but if you already had three Grammys under your belt, would you necessarily be concerned about that?
- Preston Jones