The Beginning, the first song on John Legend's fourth album, is about hopeful clean-slate love, yet the track is sonically mournful. It's a change from his previous releases - they started with toe-tappers - but it's remarkably affecting, reminiscent of his defining song, Ordinary People.
The disc feels on the long side - he could lose the schmaltzy, dragging You & I (Nobody In The World) completely - and is not in the same league as his magnificent 2004 debut, Get Lifted. But Love In The Future, boasting production and writing credits by Kanye West, still has plenty of beautiful moments: Legend's voice shines on All Of Me; Bobby Caldwell's Open Your Eyes sounds like it was written for him; and the disco-infused, Rick Ross-assisted (wisely and restrainedly the only rap feature) Who Do We Think We Are delights.
Overall, this sounds like classic John Legend. There is something wonderful about a timeless performer not bending to current musical fads. If it ain't broke....
Top track: The Beginning
John Legend plays the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts November 13.