John Legend is back with his latest album, Darkness and Light his first offering since 2013's stellar offering, Love in the Future. While that album spawned his biggest hit, the sappy love ballad, "All of Me," the album was widely overlooked in hardcore soul music circles, though big hit aside, it was one of the standout soul releases of the year, and one of Legend's best works to date.

Now he's back, keeping it short and simple with Darkness and Light. Featuring Chance the Rapper, Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes on the title track and Miguel (who co-wrote Legend's hit "Tonight (Best You Ever Had)"), the singer's fifth studio album is only 12-tracks long and packs in commentary on love, social justice issues and relationships.

"All this trouble in this here town, all this shit goin' down, when will they focus on this?/ Streets ride up with the TV crews, look ma we on the news but they didn't notice before this," he pointedly sings on "Penthouse Floor" featuring Chance.

He taps into his southern rock and blues roots on the sultry title track, singing in a falsetto over the groovy slow rolling bass line that fits Howard's powerful pipes nicely, as they sing that "nothing can stop this love." Miguel also shows up on one of the project's stronger tracks, "Overload."

For the most part, however, this album strays from typical soul, stretching into dance, and big ballad radio territory on several tracks-- nudging Legend even further in the direction that he seems to want his career to take, escaping contemporary R&B and soul and into a more universal sound.

Take a listen below. Purchase the album on iTunes here.

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