The album so far has a score of 77 out of 100 from Metacritic based on "generally favorable reviews".Yahoo! Music UK gave it a score of nine stars out of ten and called it "frequently staggering".Paste gave it four-and-a-half stars out of five and said, "Legend has grown by leaps on this disc, delivering a richer sound and more adventurous experimentation."The A.V. Club gave it a B+ and said that "While [the album] occasionally slips from understated to sleepy, there isn't a bum track on the album."Mojo also gave the album four stars out of five and said of Legend, "His most impressive skill is echoing the laid-back charm of Bill Withers and the melodic instincts of Stevie Wonder."Blender likewise gave it four stars out of five and said it "sets out to rebuild the dramatic storytelling and redemptive power of soul music on a hip-hop foundation."Q likewise gave it four stars, calling it "soulful" and "not funky".Billboard gave it a positive review and called it "A timeless, feel-good album that could easily slide into your papa's Sam Cooke and Percy Sledge collections, yet still sounds contemporary."The Village Voice also gave it a positive review and stated, "There are a number of words to describe contemporary mainstream r&b, but "elegant," "mature," "breezy," and "sophisticated" aren't usually among them. Luckily, they apply to John Legend's subtle follow-up to 2005's Grammy-winning, multiplatinum Get Lifted."Hartford Courant likewise gave it a positive review and called its songs "Soul music impeccably poised between past and future, anchored by a warm voice comfortingly similar to Bill Withers'."
Other reviews are average or mixed: The Observer gave it three stars out of five and said that Legend "has stepped up into territory that references his background in gospel and soul but avoids the more obvious nods to the past."Slant Magazine also gave it three stars and said that the album's midsection "bulges with excess MOR fat, but unlike Legend's debut, the album doesn't resurrect itself by the end."Now likewise gave it three stars and said, "Legend's lounge-track sentimentality often spills into schmaltzed-out Streisand-on-Broadway territory."Prefix Magazine gave it a score of five out of ten and stated that "The album's second half is still woefully lacking, one big mess of boredom and monotony."Vibe gave it two-and-a-half stars out of five and called it "frustratingly uneven".The Independent gave it two stars out of five and stated, "It's hard not to feel underwhelmed by this follow-up to Legend's major-label debut Get Lifted, which secured three million sales through a judicious blend of his gospel roots and hip-hop ties. The lunge for the mainstream is too pronounced, and probably ill-advised, inasmuch as it places him in direct comparison with more expressive, adept singers."