Reviews became generally positive. BBC Music gave the album a favorable review and called it "an album that not only lived up to the hype, but rose squarely above it. Yes, at times it is a patchwork of the past filtered through Legend’s ever-present influences, but the quality of his writing and performance, and his collaborators’ contributions, make it worthy of the awards and plaudits it rightly received."Spin gave it an A− and said that Legend's voice "leans on subtlety more than melisma, and his sound has a crisp live-band jump, rather than canned neo-soul static."Uncut gave it three stars out of five and stated that Legend "introduces some intriguing new variations on the retro R&B template....Jeff Buckely is surprisingly brought to mind in Legend's passionately fragile delivery."IGN gave it a score of 9.3 out of ten and called it "a refreshing record that fans of music will adore."The Guardian gave it four stars out of five and called it "a real gem."Entertainment.ie also gave it four stars and said of Legend, "it's probably not surprising that he's got such a big head, seeing as his producer, hip-hop guru Kanye West, has described him as simply 'the future'. Actually, it would be much more accurate to say that he does a pretty good job of updating the past." In his Consumer Guide, Robert Christgau gave it a three-star honorable mention (); he picked out two of the songs from the album ("I Can Change" and "Live It Up") and said of Legend, "For an ordinary soul man, he has excellent tunes."
musicOMH gave it an average review and stated that "Certain albums have the power to open the mind into different forms of music, and certainly those who pick up the Get Lifted with the pretence of it being a hip-hop album will have a rude awakening. I approached with trepidation after the opening Prelude but with an open mind or just an appreciation for the finer things in life Get Lifted could find itself being an essential album in anyone’s collection."Paste gave it a positive review and stated that it "has as much in common with the classic funk and soul of Isaac Hayes, Stevie Wonder and The Delfonics as it does with today’s best R&B, hip-hop and neo-soul."The A.V. Club gave it an average review and stated that the album "suffers from a surplus of slickness, but it's also seductive, and at just over 52 minutes, mercifully free from the excess and filler that characterize many rap and R&B albums."Exclaim!, however, gave it an unfavorable review and said, "The early line on Legend is that the heat this album will undoubtedly generate guarantees that Legend’s apparent fidelity issues will get worse before they get better. Get Lifted indeed."Plugged In gave it a mixed review and stated that "Legend is a talented singer and piano player but fails to maintain his moral focus. It doesn't take much profanity, infidelity and sexual inappropriateness to sink an otherwise decent effort."
Rhapsody ranked the album #10 on its "Best R&B Albums of the Decade" list, declaring, "John Legend was all over the Top 40 the entire decade—even before he released one of the decade’s biggest R&B debuts—having worked with Lauryn Hill, Alicia Keys, Kanye West and Jay-Z, to name a few. Get Lifted, his first proper release, is an infectious cross between old-school soul and neo-soul."