- Released: December 28, 2004
- Label: Sony
Rolling Stone - p.1084 stars out of 5
- "His brand of soul is mannered, even elegant. And he's got range..."
Spin - p.88
"[M]ashing up Sunday-service passion and request-line soul. His voice leans on subtlety more than melisma, and his sound has a crisp live-band jump, rather than canned neo-soul static." - Grade: A-
Entertainment Weekly - p.85
"Like Ray Charles, Legend joins the spiritual and the secular in satisfying, sexy ways....Almost every tune seduces with catchy hooks and soulful singing..." - Grade: A-
Q - p.121
"[He has] a gift for writing crowd-pleasing songs, whether upbeat and funky or spare and introspective..."
Uncut - p.1323 stars out of 5
- "[H]e introduces some intriguing new variations on the retro R&B template....Jeff Buckely is surprisingly brought to mind in Legend's passionately fragile delivery."
Vibe - p.1445 discs out of 5
- "It's refreshing to hear a male vocalist who has enough talent to be more than a legend in his own mind."
Mojo (Publisher) - p.63Ranked #43
in Mojo's "The 50 Best Albums Of 2005" - "[L]ayering choral gospel on hip hop's brag in a style bowing to Stevie and Curtis."
- 2.Let's Get Lifted
- 3.Used To Love U
- 5.She Don't Have To Know
- 6.Number One - (with Kanye West)
- 7.I Can Change - (with Snoop Dogg)
- 8.Ordinary People
- 9.Stay With You
- 10.Let's Get Lifted Again
- 11.So High
- 12.Refuge (When It's Cold Outside)
- 13.It Don't Have To Change - (with The Stephens Family)
- 14.Live It Up - (with Miri Ben-Ari)
Personnel: John Legend (vocals, piano, Fender Rhodes piano, organ, keyboards); John Legend; Kanye West (vocals, rap vocals, programming, drum programming); Tarrey Torae, Vaughn Stephens, MBalia Singley, A. Wayne Stephens, Ronald Stephens, Kashaan Stephens (vocals, background vocals); Clarence "Sleepy" Anderson, Lenesha Randolph, Tarey Torae, James Roston, Na2, Candace Anderson, Tara Michel, Candice Anderson (vocals); Dave Tozer (guitar, keyboards, bass guitar, programming, drum programming); Glen Jeffery, George Pajon, Curtis Jay, Jayme Kelly Curtis, Sharief Hobley (guitar); Corey Hogan (saxophone); Steve Tirpak, Jenee Dixon (trumpet); Elizabeth Lea (trombone); Horn Dogs (horns); will.i.am (Clavinet, Moog synthesizer, programming, drum programming); Jeremy Dyen (synthesizer); Swiss Chris Flueck, Jimmy Coleman (drums); Ted Chung, Shvona, Ronald "Bumper" Stephnes (hand claps); Brett Stephens, Marjorie Stephens, Brandy Stephens, Vada Stephens, Phyllis E. Stephens, Doris Stephens, Dionne Stephens, Phyllis Y. Stephens (background vocals); Snoop Dogg (vocals, rap vocals, spoken vocals); Miri Ben-Ari (strings); Tim Izo (flute, saxophone); Printz Board (trumpet).
Audio Mixer: Manny Marroquin.
Recording information: Sony Music Studios, New York, NY; Sound Images, Cincinnate, OH; Studio Crash, Philadelphia, PA; The Record Plant, Los Angeles, CA; The Stechia, Los Feliz, CA; The Stewchia, Los Feliz, CA; WEstlake Studios, Los Angeles, CA.
Photographers: Patricia Tyree; Danny Clinch.
Unknown Contributor Role: Matt Hueneman.
Arranger: Miri Ben-Ari.
Six years after cutting his musical teeth as a teen, tickling the ivories on the classic Lauryn Hill single "Everything Is Everything," John Stephens popped up everywhere in 2004, going by the bold name of John Legend. His ubiquity was unsurprising, since he was taken under the wing of Kanye West, the year's breakout success, who tabbed Legend "the future of hip-hop." It's an interesting label for a man whose elegant voice and schooled songwriting conjures up Bill Withers and Al Green, but sometimes the future intersects with the past in a manner transcending revival.
Legend drops his debut, GET LIFTED, into the center of the neo-soul universe, and it's a charming, earnest record. Sometimes he dives into a contemporary slow jam, as on "Let's Get Lifted;" other times he finds a groove the Delfonics would be proud of, as on the West-driven "Number One." On the gently gorgeous "Ordinary People, " however, it's just the man and his piano. Whether he's truly the future direction of any genre or not, Legend is an artist to watch, and GET LIFTED offers the first major taste of his talent.