• Record Label: Sony
  • Release Date: Oct 28, 2008

Generally favorable reviews - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 22
  2. Negative: 1 out of 22
  1. The makeover works for the most part--even if there's something a little absurd about hearing him proposition a platonic friend ('Cross the Line') or someone he's met moments before ('Quickly') in that barbershop-quartet croon.
  2. "Once Again" remains Legend's best record. But Evolver, in all its modernity and timeliness, may well become his biggest.
  3. This album, like everything else Legend has done, showcases his skill as an artist, but it lacks the passion that would help him reach the Stevie Wonder status he strives for.
  4. Known for his skills on the keys and a voice that retains a lovely purity, even in falsetto territory, Legend does indeed evolve with this record.
  5. Evolver is still grown-man party music though, and it should go a long way toward preserving his urban-boho reputation while breaking free of any NPR&B stasis in his songwriting.
  6. Smooth to a fault, Evolver solidifies Legend's standing in the pantheon of good soul singers, but greatness continues to elude him.
  7. Legend's voice remains beyond reproach, but for a guy who's an oasis of style and soul in a sea of synthetic, robo-call R&B, at times it seems like he's playing catch-up.
  8. Legend can be goody-goody, but aspirational babymaking music doesn't get more skillful than this.
  9. With reverberations and a choral backdrop straight out of Seal, it’s his only overreach. Mr. Legend is more charming one-on-one.
  10. Evolver delivers what it promises: A singer, songwriter and musician pushing himself to grow. This is a good first step.
  11. As the dying industry is still breathing in the toxins of useless filler, patrons like John Legend are fully indulging their creativity in all its flawed glory, just like the soul giants of yesteryear.
  12. As the title suggests, Legend is a work-in-progress, and this stage in his evolution is worth hearing.
  13. This more electronic, less organic version of John Legend is more or less as enjoyable as the balladeer stuck behind the piano.
  14. For a change, Legend doesn't constantly sound as though he's trying to impress the VH1 cognoscenti with his impeccable musicality. Sure, that's to say it's occasionally dumb, but oh so approachable.
  15. As on Legend's previous two efforts, his balladry can tend towards the beige, and oatmeal slow jams such as 'Cross the Line' prove unmemorable; but the innate warmth of Legend's voice mostly carries his material.
  16. 60
    Though he's unlikely to encounter much trouble selling these romantic conceits to his female-heavy fan base, some of the scenarios on John Legend's third studio album could be fresher
  17. Though it doesn't exactly live up to its name, Legend manages to capture the optimistic sprit of Barack Obama in
  18. Mojo
    This is a good album, but there's a pull between the commercial and the more left-field. [Dec 2008, p.104]
  19. Q Magazine
    This third album is more in the same gold-standard, singer-songwriterly vien. [Dec 2008, p.130]
  20. Easily the least accomplished of his albums, Evolver is nonetheless a refreshing change of sorts, for all its faults, at least as far as missteps are concerned.
  21. 40
    Prince made sexual audacity a trademark ages ago, but Legend is just too cautious to put it over--he sounds like a CPA on his first trip to the Hustler Club.
  22. On his third full-length, the charisma that launched Legend’s career fails to grease the gears of a scattered and lethargic song cycle, one where he shuffles through various shades of adult contemporary and is repeatedly upstaged by high-profile guest appearances.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 14 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. Phil
    Apr 25, 2009
    Great vocals, that's why I give JL a 10. Can you sing like this? He is up there with Phillip Baily and Maynard J. K.
  2. ChrisB
    Oct 31, 2008
    Great album!
  3. EnzoP
    Oct 31, 2008
    Great vocal performances, good productions, but some lyrics do not sound so interesting if sang by a 30 year-old man: John's better when Great vocal performances, good productions, but some lyrics do not sound so interesting if sang by a 30 year-old man: John's better when he sings about love. Full Review »