John Legend turns towards rubbery funk on his new single, “Penthouse Floor,” which features Chance the Rapper. “They see us reaching for the sky, just in order to survive,” Legend sings on the song that lightly invokes themes of race and social mobility.
The penthouse represents the height of social mobility in the song. “I wanna get there babe, I wanna elevate/ Oh my favorite mix, a little ignorance and bliss,” Legend sings. Chance’s verse adds gravitas to the retro groove, suggesting that the allure of “getting to the top” may be just an illusion.
Legend will release a new album, Darkness and Light, on December 2nd. Producer Blake Mills called the album “Legend’s manifesto,” in a recent statement. “Following the tradition of soul/R&B music that celebrates love and challenges indecency, Darkness and Light digs into John’s long-standing devotion to social justice, the challenges and rewards of a marriage constantly in the public eye and the recent birth of his first child, Luna.”