Once Again

Music review by
Kathi Kamen Goldmark, Common Sense Media
Once Again Music Poster Image
Classic R&B sound with some smooth moves.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this music.

Positive Messages

Seductive, yet tasteful lyrics ("can we make love/like way back in the day/we could lose control/heaven only knows").


One incidence of "s--t."


An insert advertises various products on a fan Web site.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that John Legend puts a wonderful spin on a classic R&B sound, delivering 13 soulful songs packed with sexual innuendo that's mostly in good taste ("Can we make love/like way back in the day/we could lose control/heaven only knows"). There's also one mention of "s--t."

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What's the story?

John Legend has one of those gorgeous smooth voices made to sing R&B. On ONCE AGAIN, he draws from the classic soul arrangements with substance, style, and confidence -- while adding his own unique, contemporary touches. Lyrics are heavy on gentle, seductive sexual innuendo, always within the bounds of good taste. \"Love hurts sometimes when you do it right/don't be afraid of a little bit of pain/pleasure is on the other side/let your guard down a little/I'll keep you safe in these arms of mine\" references a first-time encounter in language subtle enough to be obscure to those too young to understand.

Is it any good?

Minimalist instrumentation, judiciously and tastefully applied background vocals, and poetic lyrics all conspire to make Once Again a satisfying album, made-to-order for teens (and older folks) in the throes of romance. Many of the songs seem to bear a "Make Love, Not War" message expressed in regret over a recent spat. Over all, John Legend seems to be growing into his musical potential with style and grace, applying originality and freshness without losing sight of his substantial musical roots.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how to get a message across with artistry and subtlety. If you want to get the attention of someone you're attracted to, is it more effective to be explicit or understated? Are some things better left unsaid? Why?

Music details

  • Artist: John Legend
  • Release date: October 24, 2006
  • Label: Sony Music
  • Genre: R&B
  • Parental advisory: No
  • Edited version available: No
  • Last updated: July 15, 2015

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