Wake Up!

Studio Album by released in 2010
Wake Up!'s tracklist:
Hard Times (feat. Black Thought)
Send Ringtone
Send Ringtone
Wake Up Everybody (feat. Common & Melanie Fiona)
Send Ringtone
Our Generation (The Hope of the World) (feat. CL Smooth)
Send Ringtone
Little Ghetto Boy (Prelude) (feat. Malik Yusef)
Send Ringtone
Little Ghetto Boy (feat. Black Thought)
Send Ringtone
Hang On in There
Send Ringtone
Humanity (Love the Way It Should Be)
Send Ringtone
Send Ringtone
I Can't Write Left Handed
Send Ringtone
I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free
Send Ringtone
Shine
Send Ringtone

Wake Up! review

The best traditions of soul, hip-hop, gospel and rock

Neither John Legend, nor The Roots could be ever called a mediocrity. The former is a splendid pianist and one of the most soulful vocalists of the present days who has always strived at finding a common language with his listeners. The latter is one of the most original rap teams, one of the first to involve live instruments in its recordings and performances and combining various styles in its music. It is a long time that the musicians know each other, and the idea to record a collaboration album has not appeared on the spur of the moment, either. They have been selecting the material for such a record on the basis of the fact that a lot of wonderful soul compositions were created in the 1960-1970s but not of them had become hits, just remaining unnoticed for different reasons. Black Thought, his colleagues and John Legend himself have chosen several compositions of the kind and made amazing contemporary numbers out of them which comprise the collection Wake Up! – undoubtedly, one of the year’s most important releases uniting the best traditions of soul, hip-hop, gospel and rock.

Awareness and social issues on Wake Up!

The album Wake Up! offers 11 covers of compositions from the once-famous soul performers’ repertoire and one original composition. Such a song selection is not an occasion – it was in 2008 during Barack Obama’s pre-election campaign that John Legend decided to record songs about awareness and social issues, and Wake Up! is the embodiment of those ideas. It opens with one of the most mesmerizing things Hard Times, which was performed by Baby Huey & the Babysitters in its own time. John Legend with his inimitable vocals is joined by Black Thought here, who is partially involved practically in every track here. It contains everything that is going to please your ear throughout the record: splendid production behind the faultless beats, live instruments, among which the brass is especially defined to give the songs a certain charm, and the performers’ charisma. The song Compared To What is a more complicated number with an unusual tune, many-faceted arrangement in which some jazz elements can be traced, and John Legend’s singing filled with even larger amount of emotions than before. The highlights definitely include the first single, a Harold Melvin’s cover Wake Up Everybody (featuring Common & Melanie Fiona) and another number performed with Black Thought Little Ghetto Boy, one of Donny Hathaway’s hits. A very beautiful and softer number Hang On In There is taken from Mike James Kirkland’s repertoire, whereas a slow piano composition Wholy Holy has been selected from the inimitable Marvin Gay’s heritage, and John Legend’s pleasure while performing it is almost tangible. The album close with Shine, a song written by Legend specially for Wake Up!, to end it on an optimistic note full of hope.

John Legend & The Roots’ work will remain in history

Phenomena such as Wake Up! are not new things in show business world for the artists are often eager to collaborate, let alone they remain content only with singles in many cases. Anyways, this work will remain in history. It is all about these performers and musicians’ highest rate. Perhaps some may think that there is too much sensuality in John Legend’s vocals and too little toughness where it is traced in the originals. Indeed, John has remained faithful to his soulful manner of performance. Then again, his breath work, bold high notes and self-confidence cannot be unnoticed. The album cab be conventionally divided into two parts – the first one is more up-tempo, filled with various beats, rap verses and raising serious issues. The second one starts with the reggae composition Humanity (Love the Way It Should Be) and presents us with more relaxing melodies, and though these texts also contain important deep thoughts, they are served with a softer dressing. On the whole Wake Up! will please both the fans of contemporary soul and The Roots’ sophisticated hip-hop, and the older generation will appreciate this successful attempt remember the past times when everything was only at the start, and appeal to the modern society’s awareness.