By Melody Chiu Patrick Gomez REVIEWED BY KEVIN O'DONNELL
September 16, 2013 12:00 PM

John Legend

Love in the Future

R&B

Lately some younger neo-soul men—Miguel, Frank Ocean, the Weeknd—have stolen the spotlight from John Legend. But the Grammy-winning singer-pianist gets us lifted once again with Love in the Future. Thankfully the title of his fourth solo album doesn’t refer to Legend going all futuristic electronica on us, although there is some ambient moodiness that goes from trippy (“The Beginning …”) to tribal (“Made to Love”). As in the past, there are samples (Marvin Gaye) and the occasional rap cameo (Rick Ross) for some hip-hop effect, but this is really all about Legend serenading you with that killer voice. When he strips it down on the classic ballad “All of Me,” it’s clear that his is the kind of talent that is timeless.

Nine Inch Nails

Hesitation Marks |

ROCK

In the last four years, Trent Reznor got married and won an Oscar, and those Big Life Changes bring renewed verve to his first NIN record in five years. “Came Back Haunted” nods to the abrasive industrial sound of his ’90s hits; “Satellite” has a bumping gothic-disco pulse. He doesn’t sound as brooding these days, even when singing “Yesterday I found out the world was ending … Well, I don’t mind.” From him, it’s an inspirational verse.

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