John Legend and The Roots combined their talents to produce, Wake Up!, a twelve song experience that takes classic songs to new heights. Beginning with the introspectively woven “Hard Times,” Wake Up! inserts itself into your ears as a recipe for soul music stew with a dash of Hip-Hop. John Legend’s voice cuts through the instrumentation making the track a force to be reckoned with while Black Thought’s rhyme is both moving and provoking.
John Legend and The Roots take on Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes classic, “Wake Up Everybody,” with Melanie Fiona and Common, is a fitting remake for our times with an epistle that is direct and poignant. “Hang on in There,” is a submersion into blues and acoustic mellowness as Legend sings about never giving up hope. It is the have faith cut of the bunch. “Humanity (Love the Way It Should Be),” is a pleasing lament on love with a Marley style harmony, while “Wholy Holy,” is an infusion of contemporary styling with an old school juke joint feel.
“Shine,” the last song is fit for The Roots melodic style and the rugged and tempestuous rasp of John Legend. It is Wake Up’s magnum opus, leaving behind a trail of profound sounds from the music and a message that everything will indeed be all right after we all Wake Up!
John Legend was quoted as saying that the idea for Wake Up!, came when he was campaigning for President Obama. “I wanted to do something musically that reflected that moment,” and this release is unequivocally grounded on that optimistic time.
Wake Up! receives a PARLE