Today R&B is one of my favorite genres, but it hasn’t always been that way. Get Lifted by John Legend is the album that started it all and one that I still listen to regularly to this day. I distinctly remember the pre-release hype back in 2004. Legend had already made his mark on the industry, contributing to records with Alicia Keys, Kanye West, and Lauryn Hill. Personally, I wasn’t all that excited for the release, but as the holiday season approached you started to see John Legend’s name everywhere - MTV, VH1, and every Starbucks across the country. I’m sure albums were being marketed and sold in Starbucks long before Get Lifted, but in my memory it is the first major one to come to mind.
After hearing the singles “Ordinary People” and “Used to Love U”, I was sold. These tracks somehow managed to sound like all-time classics and the future of music at the same time. I blasted them on repeat my entire Christmas Break, sipping coffee and of course playing World of Warcraft, which had finally just been released. Hearing them today doesn’t put me right back in that time of my life thankfully, but they still do give me that sense of carefree peace that can only come from being a kid at Christmastime.
Once the full album was finally released, it did not disappoint. The biggest surprise for me, was just how sexy it was. And I was not a fan of sexy music. But this worked. It drew me in, made me feel things music had never made me feel and by doing so served as a stepping stone into an entire new genre of music. Without Get Lifted I might not have ever started listening to contemporary R&B like D’Angelo or Lauryn Hill. I definitely would have had no interest in exploring the discography of Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder or Marvin Gaye. I wouldn’t go as far as to put John Legend in the same league as any of those aforementioned artists, especially nowadays, but the mark he left on me is very evident and this album deserves most of the credit.
1. "Prelude” - 0:44
2. "Let's Get Lifted" - 3:37
3. "Used to Love U" - 3:30
4. "Alright" - 3:20
5. "She Don't Have to Know" - 4:52
7. "I Can Change" (featuring Snoop Dogg) - 5:01
8. "Ordinary People" - 4:41
9. "Stay with You" - 3:49
10. "Let's Get Lifted Again" - 2:18
11. "So High" - 5:07
12. "Refuge (When It's Cold Outside)" - 4:13
13. "It Don't Have to Change" (featuring the Stephens Family) - 3:23
14. "Live It Up" (featuring Miri Ben-Ari) - 4:35