Review: John Legend, ‘Evolver’

John Legend, ‘Evolver’: Aidin Vaziri | The title must be a joke because John Legend has basically been rewriting the same song over and over since emerging four years ago in a shower of Grammys. The thing is, it’s a really good song, so it’s hard to begrudge him for rolling out 13 more variations on his third and latest release, “Evolver.” He’s brought friends such as Kanye West, Andre 3000 and Estelle around to help enliven the mood, but his creamy voice and gauzy grooves still dominate, even through the wafts of cod reggae on “No Other Love” and pseudo club beats of “Green Light.” Given the recent work Legend (left at Berkeley’s Greek Theatre last year) has done with the Obama campaign, you might have expected his songwriting interests to move beyond 500-thread-count sheets. Not so much. The ladies are still giving him all kinds of problems, mostly, it seems, while horizontal. “You don’t love me the way you say you do/ You don’t want me the way that I want you,” he sings on “Satisfaction” (sadly not a cover of the Stones song), basically summing up not only the thematic thrust of the album but also Legend’s entire artistic output. Still, with Smokey Robinson focusing his energies on frozen gumbo and scary contact lenses, it’s nice to know that someone is keeping the quiet storm raging on.


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