Rolling Stone - p.723.5 stars out of 5
-- "[E]xecutive producer Kanye West helps give him a plush, nuanced palette to match his signature emotional generosity and strong sensuality..."
Entertainment Weekly - p.75
"[With] the hallucinogenic throb of 'Asylum,' a masterpiece of postmodern soul..."
Photographer: Matthew Williams .
This is John Legend's first solo studio album since 2008's Evolver. Between the two releases, he recorded the Grammy-winning Wake Up! with the Roots, scored a gold single with "Tonight (Best You Ever Had)" (from the Think Like a Man soundtrack), was featured on a couple albums' worth of songs by other artists, and somehow managed to be deeply involved in philanthropy. He also got engaged. Although he proposed to model Chrissy Teigen five years after meeting her, much of Love in the Future seems drawn from a romance that was quicker to bloom. "The Beginning." sets a tone of urgency with a scene from the day after their first night spent together. Legend sings with certitude, "Pick some names, boy or girl/Then we'll change, change the world." That sense of blissful urgency -- of seizing the moment, getting lost, and knowing that the future is set -- is belied in the pacing. Even the album's standard 16-track edition meanders at a crawling pace. It's broken up by the occasional soaring arrangement or some hypnotically clanking/pinging percussion, as heard on highlight "Made to Love," which resembles a latter-day Moby collaboration with distant handclapping, spooky background vocals, and a sample from Lil Louis' noisy house classic "Video Clash." This is a heavy, laboriously made set of songs. The list of producers alone includes Hit-Boy, Bink, 88 Keys, the Runners, Doc McKinney, Q-Tip, and Ali Shaheed Muhammad. Kanye West, and Dave Tozer pile on as co-producers and co-executive producers. Perhaps they ensured that the whole album would have its dramatic, slightly eerie tone; even the covers of Bobby Caldwell's "Open Your Eyes" and Anita Baker's "Angel" are a little uneasy. That level of sonic indulgence seems like it should be incompatible with an artist who is, essentially, a piano man, but Love in the Future is among Legend's best work, made for couples who are into one another for the long term while feeling a little daring and crazy. ~ Andy Kellman