I envied the journalist nestled in her bed. Two others were at a brown desk under iridescent lights while another journalist had invited his two kids to join John Legend’s virtual listening session last week. I decided to turn my kitchen island into a makeshift studio to enjoy a private preview of the 11-time Grammy Award winner’s new album, Bigger Love.
The soulful R&B singer told journalists around the world (yes, there were even some checking in from Indonesia where the time was 8 a.m.) that he began working on his seventh studio album before COVID and before Black Lives Matter protests erupted in the U.S. and in more than 60 countries.
Legend, who was inside his own California home with his wife Chrissy Teigen and their two children, told us that he hoped Bigger Love would bring “some joy” to those struggling right now and “lift them up and bring them some love.”
It’s probably what makes Bigger Love so necessary right now. The Raphael Saadiq-produced album explores the full humanity of Blackness; the revolutionary ideas that we love, we smile, we groove, we keep going.
“We’ve seen so many images of Black Americans…in pain and in anger, but we also feel joy,” Legend said last week. “We also feel love and we also feel connection with our partners and loved ones. This album explores those feelings in depth.”
While “Ooh Laa” is what the R&B singer calls “doo-wop meets trap,” another song that’ll bang in your car from the 16-track album is “I Do.” Legend collaborated with Anderson .Paak on the track, which also happens to be his kids’ favorite song. You’ll hear .Paak’s signature drums pretty easily.
If you’re looking for “Classic Legend,” (You know, the throaty R&B bops that’ll make you forget summer is just outside), listen to “Favorite Place,” “U Move I Move,” featuring Jhené Aiko, and my personal favorite, “Slow Cooker.”
Bigger Love is now available to stream everywhere now.