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Record Rating: ****

John Legend - Get Lifted - Sony BMG Rapper/producer/Grammy Award winner Kanye West is nothing if not prolific. In addition to working on brand new material for himself he has found the time to produce the work of up-and-coming new artist John Legend.

This traditional-minded R&B singer first made a name for himself on the neo-soul scene in Philadelphia before moving to New York where he became West’s right hand man in the studio. Get Lifted is a collection of thirteen songs attempting to redefine the sound of the ‘70s without losing sight of the fact that we’re now firmly in the twenty-first century. With a heavyweight like Kanye West in his corner there is no denying the production skill at work on this album. The sound conjures moods, emotions and moments that seem to be fully-formed evocations of a bygone era without ever really making the listener feel like she is listening to a retro recording.

Far from being a producer’s plaything though, Legend is in possession of some fine grooves and is not above using his voice (even though it doesn’t immediately distinguish itself as a unique instrument) to get a point across. In most cases it is his restraint that sets him apart from the other R&B players attempting to convince themselves (and others) that their music is about more than just getting jiggy with the first lissome lass that will have them. Legend appears keenly aware of the fact that all the good bedroom come-ons have already been used and so he takes great care to ensure that it is how he says his things is what makes all the difference in the world.

The album which also features guest performances by The Stephens Family and Miri Ben-Ari shines on Number One which is shored up by a Kanye West supporting slot, Ordinary People and I Can Change on which Snoop Dogg drops some rhymes. Even when there are soft melodies at work, there are enough bouncing bass lines around to remind the listener that this collection was produced by one of the biggest names in hip-hop right now.

Read our other reviews:

Rob Thomas - Something To Be       The Offspring - Greatest Hits       Natalie Imbruglia - Counting Down The Days       Lindsay Lohan - Speak      


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