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Music to Atone To
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“Every day I wake, and everything is broken / Turnin’ off my phone just to get out of bed.”  Wow, what a striking, telling opening lyric! On his powerful, thoughtful single “Preach,” Grammy-winning R&B musician John Legend voices the frustrations of many.  Just a couple lines into “Preach,” there’s a clear sense of disappointment, devastation, and hopelessness regarding the current state of affairs.  Legend doesn’t name names or get specific, but rather, he generally mentions happenings necessitating atonement.  What is that atonement which Legend seeks? Taking action.

Sure, John Legend spends plenty of time preaching the sermon, common of socially-conscious, protest-fueled records.  The difference is, he knows that ‘next steps’ must be enacted in order to change the trajectory, not just mere sermonizing.  On the pre-chorus, Legend begins to ponder what actions ‘we’ should take to fix a total mess.  “And heaven knows I’m not helpless,” he sings, continuing, “But what can I do? Yeah / I can’t see the use in me cryin’ / If I’m not even tryna make the change I wanna see.”  The motivation for change reaches a fever pitch on the chorus, the centerpiece for this transcendent contemporary soul record.

“I can’t sit and hope, I can’t just sit and pray that
I can find the love when all I see is pain
I try to do the things I say that I believe
I can’t just preach, baby, preach.”

The big takeaway from “Preach” is backing up a stance by being proactive.  Too often, we as a society are able to ‘preach,’ but we don’t actually ‘fight the good fight.’ We often say what we will do, or even say ‘I’ll pray about it,’ but fail to take the initiative ourselves.  As for John Legend and his house, they simply “Can’t just preach, baby, preach.”

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About The Curator - Brent Faulkner

Brent Faulkner - Music to Curator

Slightly eccentric with interests that seem to know no ends, restless ‘Renaissance Man’ is the best way to characterize Brent Faulkner, a native of Kentucky.  A certified music educator, multi-instrumentalist, and composer known for his incredibly sharp ear, he lives and breathes music of a variety of styles.  In addition to passion for educating, performing, and writing music, he’s equally passionate blogging and writing about it, managing his own site, The Musical Hype ( When he’s not intensely analyzing music, you can find him reading or watching a movie, reality television or some sporting event.