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Track Review

If you're a soul singer and you're lucky enough to find true love, well, there's only one thing to do about it: write a song about how high your soul soars.

That's certainly what R&B crooner John Legend has done with his piano ballad "All of Me." He wrote it shortly before his marriage to model Chrissy Teigen, and it exudes the kind of aching emotional vulnerability that leaves listeners with absolutely no doubt that the dude is in love.

Legend's delicate tenor soars above the piano melody as he reflects upon the beauty of the love he's found. "What would I do without your smart mouth?/Drawing me in, and you kicking me out," he begins playfully. But things quickly get more serious: "You've got my head spinning, no kidding, I can't pin you down/What's going on in that beautiful mind?I'm on your magical mystery ride/And I'm so dizzy, don't know what hit me, but I'll be alright/ … You're crazy and I'm out of my mind."

Alluding to the complete, unconditional commitment of marriage, Legend lilts in the chorus, "'Cause all of me/Loves all of you/Love your curves and all your edges/All your perfect imperfections." Then he asks, "Give your all to me," and promises, "I'll give my all to you/You're my end and my beginning/Even when I lose I'm winning/'Cause I give you all of me/And you give me all of you."

It's exactly the kind of song I'm positive will be played at myriad weddings this spring and many springs to come—with the mildly sensual line about curves actually sealing the deal for some.

Second verse, same as the first: Legend continues to chronicle his love for the one he's chosen, lending poetry to the goodness of their relationship, even in its hardest moments ("How many times do I have to tell you?/Even when you're crying you're beautiful too/The world is beating you down, I'm around through every mood/You're my downfall, you're my muse/My worst distraction, my rhythm and blues/I can't stop singing, it's ringing, in my head for you."

They're beautiful sentiments complemented by Legend's equally beautiful voice and piano playing.

But then the video fills in a few too many details about this loving couple. Filmed a few days before the wedding, it features Legend and Teigen sharing longing looks, kisses, caresses and embraces—sometimes in the pool, sometimes in the shower, sometimes in bed. The camera looks on, almost hungrily, as they shower together (her breasts are partially covered by her arms and his body as they embrace and kiss) and cuddle in bed. We see Teigen's leg, hip and shoulder as she lies amid the sheets. And pool-side scenes reveal quite a bit of bare body too.

This is sensuous, sexual stuff to say the least, and it finally frustrates the adoring lyrics of the song itself—certainly for all of us who aren't named John Legend and Chrissy Teigen. For us who are seeing displayed for all the erotic love that should happen between a man and a wife. Alone.

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August 12, 2013

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Adam R. Holz

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