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John Legend

Evolver

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Distancing himself from his position as the Barry Manilow of soul, John Legend's third album, Evolver, transitions the Vegas-like lounge singer into more urban territory. With such sure-fire hits as "Green Light" (featuring Andre 3000) and "It's Over" (featuring Kanye West), Legend has achieved his goal of producing a defiantly commercial release after the platinum-plus seller Once Again failed to live up to the singer's sales expectations. Nervous fans anxious about Legend's decision to craft an electronic-driven, radio-conscious project may be appeased by the highly melodic collection of disparate iTunes singles. A long-anticipated reggae tune, "Can't Be My Lover," and prerequisite syrupy ballads like "Good Morning" nicely round out a project featuring everyone from Brandy to Estelle. West's production is present, but not heavy-handed. A good, if not great album, the star-studded Evolver lacks cohesion, but offers plenty of jams. 3 stars.

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