On their 2012 debut Boys & Girls, Alabama Shakes never hid that they were creatures of the New South – a band with old-fashioned blues, soul, gospel, and country in their blood but raised on modern rock. On their 2015 follow-up, Sound & Color, they free themselves from the vestiges of the past, let loose, and push themselves further in either direction. This could've resulted in a disjointed record pulling itself in two opposing directions, but the mess of Sound & Color is invigorating, likely because the album uses its title as a creed. Where Boys & Girls sometimes seemed a shade austere – the band took pains to color within the lines, almost as if to convey their good taste – Sound & Color bursts with oversaturated hues so vivid they seem almost tangible.
Darkness And Light is the fifth studio album from acclaimed, multi-platinum selling, Oscar, Golden Globe and 10x Grammy Award winning American singer/songwriter John Legend. It was released on December 2nd via Columbia Records as follow-up to 2013’s “Love In the Future.“ This new 12 song collection is produced by Blake Mills (Alabama Shakes), and features multiple guest collaborations including Chance the Rapper, Alabama Shakes' Brittany Howard, and Miguel. The lead single and video from Darkness And Light, is the anthemic track, "Love Me Now," written and produced by John Legend with Blake Mills and John Ryan (One Direction)…
Spanning two discs and over two decades' worth of music, Alabama's In the Mood: The Love Songs collects the most romantic moments from the band's body of work, including "Close Enough to Perfect," "Feels So Right," "How Do You Fall in Love," and "The Closer You Get." Indeed, love songs play a fairly significant part in the band's career – many of the tracks included here, such as "Fallin' Again," "Touch Me When We're Dancing," "Lady Down on Love," and "In Pictures," also appear on For the Record, Alabama's collection of chart-topping singles. All of this means In the Mood: The Love Songs is a consistent collection of the band's easygoing, sentimental songs, and while it doesn't replace a more straightforward greatest-hits compilation, it should please the band's fans as well as anyone partial to romantic country.
With an impressive run of hits in the '80s – thanks to a country sound washed in a sleek, pop sheen and with enough rock dynamics to put it all over – Alabama built an early template for how to be a country group in the 21st century. They had chart hits in three different decades, a pretty impressive lesson in longevity in a business that hardly encourages it. This well-sequenced set features some of the group’s most enduring songs, including “I’m in a Hurry (And Don’t Know Why),” “Song of the South,” and “Mountain Music,” among others, and makes it easy to hear why Alabama was so ubiquitous in the genre.