Darkness and Light

John Legend - Darkness and Light
Critic Score
Based on 13 reviews
2016 Ratings: #579 / 1004
User Score
Based on 67 ratings
2016 Rank: #686
Liked by 1 person
December 2, 2016 / Release Date
LP / Format
Neo-Soul / Genre
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The album's front, back, and inner photos are in black-and-white, but the music evokes rich shades of yellow, orange, and red.
The Guardian

It never quite lands where you think it’s going to, and for all its occasional missteps, Darkness and Light pleasingly suggests that, six albums in, John Legend’s musical career might have started doing the same thing.


In the end, Darkness and Light isn’t the political feat Mills and Legend had hoped for, but it’s a step forward in the singer’s evolution. He may never be a firebrand, but Legend proves there’s still strength in humility.

Perhaps this set signifies the man’s acceptance of a truth that just might be standing in the space between John Legend and superstardom: when it comes to soul music, a little darkness never hurt anyone.

Darkness and Light comes off balanced and bursting with humility knowing and being what it is — mainstream soul framed by pop parameters.

Spectrum Culture

Darkness and Light is a solid entry in Legend’s portfolio—and the first that really sees the artist stretching himself into the new cosmos. Where he goes from here will be an even more fascinating journey for his fans.

FLOOD Magazine
It’s tough to shake the idea that we’re getting the real John Legend for the very first time.

Through it all, though, ‘Darkness and Light’ sounds terrific. The production, courtesy of Blake Mills, is rich, tasteful, and rewarding to repeat listeners, while the sprawling list of contributors is consistently stellar.

The Independent
The contrasts of the title are evident throughout John Legend’s latest album – in the push and pull between devotion and desire, indulgence and empowerment, and musically in the dialectic between comforting familiarity and exploratory urges.
The Irish Times
It's a grand album, if lacking the or punch required to take it to another level.
Consequence of Sound

We’re given accessible pop, traditional R&B ballads, and powerful gospel numbers. Through all of this, Legend’s voice continues to shine, illuminating his innate talent with rich lyrics that adapt to the cultural climate of the times right now.


Above Average

More mainstream R&B here. It isn't that bad though. The production feels nice and fresh, which accompanies a minimal and really cool cover in my opinion. The features are nice here, but there is just a lot missing. Some songs just also aren't that good.

Best Tracks: Penthouse Floor, Darkness and Light, Overload, Love Me Now, Surefire, Same Old Story

Least Favorite Track: Temporarily Painless


Great album, John's voice is very good on all tracks.
Best tracks: Right by you, Overload, Darkness and Light


I just find this flat, I did not enjoy it. It is a poor way to tie with the mainstream, sinking on generic pieces of soul/pop and souless singing. It might be a little way better than its predecesor; however, it is still somewhat annoying.
FAVS: I Know Better, Penthouse Floor, Temporarily Painless
LEAST FAV: Marching Into the Dark

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Added on: November 4, 2016