Often, the phrase “we’re going to make a whole album together” can be assumed to be complete malarkey. Half-conceived words often spurred by intoxicants and the rush associated with an interview. Even if the project does make it past the concept stage, it’s often tripped up by label red tape. That doesn’t seem to be the case for John Legend & The Roots as they ready Wake Up!, a collaborative album featuring covers of classic songs from Marvin Gaye, Donny Hathaway and more (check the tracklisting). The inspiration from the album comes from the 2008 presidential election.
“If you can kind of transport your mind to what everyone was feeling at that time, there was a lot of energy in the country, a lot of feelings that we could all do something to make the country better and the world better,” says Legend. “So we went back to music from the 60s and 70s where again, there was this feeling that young people were empowered and could do a lot in the world.” [People]
Subscribing to those words, the first single “Wake Up Everybody” borrows from Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes’ original, calling on the masses to initiate the changes they wish to see. With features from both Common and Melanie Fiona, it’s a promising start to what should be a satisfying listening experience. One where I can already hear my mom saying “Will you get me that new John Legend cd?” And I will; I’ll just explain The Roots’ significance later.
Set to release on September 21st, Wake Up! pre-orders are now being taken for both CD and vinyl.