15 Songs, 57 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Already a studio session vocalist, keyboardist, and songwriter for high-profile artists (Alicia Keys, Lauryn Hill, Janet Jackson), John Legend, né John Stephens, had worked out a large chunk of the musical puzzle for himself before his studio debut, Get Lifted, appeared. Following a brief stint working at a management consulting firm after college, the Ohio native joined Common as one of the very first artists signed to G.O.O.D. Music, the then-fledgling imprint of Kanye West—whose cousin (“Diamonds Are Forever” producer Devo Springsteen) was Legend’s roommate at the University of Pennsylvania. Pulling both hip-hop-centered beats and Legend’s piano to the foreground, Get Lifted benefits from strong vocal arrangements (Legend was a former church choir director), reimagined classic soul samples (The Staple Singers’ “Let’s Do It Again” on “Number One,” Sly & The Family Stone’s “Just Like a Baby” on “She Don’t Have to Know”), and a canny mix of guests (Snoop Dogg, West, Hill) that never steals focus from the star. Standout hit “Ordinary People” features him alone at a piano counting the ways partners disappoint each other, but he uncovers new reasons to be hopeful in the end, singing, “This time we’ll take it slow.” The song’s sparse, crooner-esque voice-and-piano arrangement and romantic subject matter presaged "All of Me," the biggest hit of Legend’s career, released nine years later.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Already a studio session vocalist, keyboardist, and songwriter for high-profile artists (Alicia Keys, Lauryn Hill, Janet Jackson), John Legend, né John Stephens, had worked out a large chunk of the musical puzzle for himself before his studio debut, Get Lifted, appeared. Following a brief stint working at a management consulting firm after college, the Ohio native joined Common as one of the very first artists signed to G.O.O.D. Music, the then-fledgling imprint of Kanye West—whose cousin (“Diamonds Are Forever” producer Devo Springsteen) was Legend’s roommate at the University of Pennsylvania. Pulling both hip-hop-centered beats and Legend’s piano to the foreground, Get Lifted benefits from strong vocal arrangements (Legend was a former church choir director), reimagined classic soul samples (The Staple Singers’ “Let’s Do It Again” on “Number One,” Sly & The Family Stone’s “Just Like a Baby” on “She Don’t Have to Know”), and a canny mix of guests (Snoop Dogg, West, Hill) that never steals focus from the star. Standout hit “Ordinary People” features him alone at a piano counting the ways partners disappoint each other, but he uncovers new reasons to be hopeful in the end, singing, “This time we’ll take it slow.” The song’s sparse, crooner-esque voice-and-piano arrangement and romantic subject matter presaged "All of Me," the biggest hit of Legend’s career, released nine years later.

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Ratings and Reviews

3.3 out of 5
21 Ratings

21 Ratings

NickIsBestForever ,

"Classic"?

Seriously, iTunes? He has 2-3 songs on the radio, & a semi popular Christmas album, yet he has "classic" albums? The dudes practically a one hit wonder - most people who know him only know him for "All of Me"!! This is ridiculous.

GetLifted ,

It is a classic.

For fans of R&B or neo-soul, this is one of the best of the 2000’s. Hip-hop, R&B, gospel, soul... a really great debut album. So High, Lets Get Lifted, She Don’t Have To Know... few albums of the last twenty years can hold my attention for every song, and this is one of them.

TNelsonv5 ,

Great album

Ordinary people is his best song. Haven’t been into any of the new stuff but def vibe with this album.

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