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Get Lifted / Once Again

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Album Review

If you've listened to Top 40 radio or flipped through the video channels during the past few years, odds are pretty good you know something about John Legend. He played piano on Lauryn Hill's "Everything Is Everything" and might as well be considered Kanye West's sidekick, having assisted the producer and MC on several sessions — Jay-Z's "Encore" and Slum Village's "Selfish" being two of the more prominent 2004 singles featuring his work. A former choir director, he has also released a handful of energetic live discs, some of which are credited to his less hubristic birth name, John Stephens. And though he claims "I've got something new," you've also heard substantial chunks of Get Lifted in records made decades ago by Sly & the Family Stone, Curtis Mayfield, Quincy Jones, and Bill Withers. This might not be a problem for listeners who crave anything that recalls the music they first heard in their youth, but Legend's over-reliance upon his inspirations is an impediment as much as a slick way to grab attention. That's because he has more than enough talent and charm to get by on his own. His own lyrics and hooks are unique and clever enough to get the point across that he's no everyday R&B artist and, just as importantly, he has a personable and instantly fetching voice you could listen to all day long. However, the association with West — whose Sony-distributed boutique label released the record — is very helpful. Without it, Legend would likely be zoned into neo-soul (2003's Live at SOB's New York City really makes this notion apparent), thereby standing little chance of reaching the ears of anyone younger than 30. The production work supporting his songs strikes a fine balance between soul and hip-hop, allowing him to appeal to those who are coming from either angle. This is a very good record. It's a given that Legend is destined to make at least two others that top it. [Get Lifted was also released in the DualDisc format, containing the CD on one side of the disc and a DVD with a 5.1 mix of the album on the other.]

Customer Reviews

I have the utmost respect for John's talent as a writer, singer, and musician

He's got gobs and gobs of talent. I'm an engineer in Philly. I recorded and mixed his demo, mixed his first Live album as John Stevens, and a couple of songs on his first two hit records. I never got paid for my work on those hit records though. I can't afford the lawyers to get my money out of Sony. I'm telling you this guy can sing!! He would get something close to a perfect take on the level check. He deserves his success in this business. I just wish he aligned himself with more honest people. I hope Sony goes out of business and John makes millions. :-)

Love it!

John Legend has so much talent - these albums are two of my favs! His voice is so very smooth, even when he's singing about cheating it sounds sexy.


These are two really great albums for a really great price. Even though its missing one of the tracks (King & Queen), you still can't go wrong. A truly talented individual with a sound like no one else.


Born: December 28, 1978 in Springfield, OH

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Grammy- and Academy Award-winning R&B singer, songwriter, and pianist John Legend, born John Stephens, was a child prodigy who grew up in Ohio, where he began singing gospel and playing piano at the age of five. Stephens left his home state at 16 to attend college in Philadelphia, and it was there that he first found a larger audience. Not yet out of his teens, Stephens was tapped to play piano on Lauryn Hill's "Everything Is Everything," a Top 40 hit for the Fugees member's 1998 album The Miseducation...
Full Bio

Top Albums and Songs by John Legend

Get Lifted / Once Again, John Legend
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