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John Legend, ‘Love in the Future’

Don't be fooled by the title of John Legend's fourth solo record, as the music actually looks backward to sweeping romanticism and pop formalism. All of Legend's strengths are present: keen melodies, smooth vocal understatement, and artful arrangements. Essentially, the disc plays like a love letter to his fiancee, supermodel Chrissy Teigen, yet it resonates. Each song either extols the graces of a woman or endorses the endurance of relationships. On "All of Me," Legend earnestly sings, "love your curves and all your edges/ all your perfect imperfections." "You & I" is an ode to such single-minded devotion it would soften the most jaded heart. The rare misses include "Asylum," which speaks of being crazy in love, but is too genteel to convince. The singer-songwriter is an anomaly in today's R&B because he's not trying to rattle every bedpost and out-swag his peers. There are no blurred lines here — Legend wants to bring romance back to pop. (Out Tuesday)



John Legend plays Citi Wang Theater Oct. 22.