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Released: 2005

“Ordinary People” by John Legend is a soulful, heart-string-pulling ballad that grapples with the raw realities of long-term love. It’s a refreshing alternative to stereotypical love songs, instead embracing the ebbs and flows of a committed relationship filled with both bliss and squabbles.

Steering clear of champagne, red roses, and chocolate-covered strawberries, Legend commences with the frank admission, “Girl I’m in love with you, This ain’t the honeymoon.” He’s not singing about an Instagram-perfect relationship here. Certainly, there’s love, but it’s more about persistence, growth, and the compromises both parties make. Legend insists that both he and his partner are not ideal; they make mistakes, they argue, they misbehave – but they endure, constantly striving for growth.

The chorus wistfully advocates for life in the slow lane, suggesting that pacing themselves may help navigate their “ordinary” love more effectively – a sweet nod to Legend’s mature perspective on romance. He astutely acknowledges that love is not a sprint but a marathon, fraught with uncertainty at every turn.

Further, Legend beautifully encapsulates the tumultuous dynamic that love can bring, connecting with listeners as he sings “Sometimes it’s heaven sent, Then we head back to hell again”. It’s a nod to the cyclical nature of relationships where blissful moments often follow heated disputes, and vice versa – an emotional roller-coaster that many can resonate with.

The bridge might be the most poetic and insightful part of this song, detailing uncertainty in its lyrics “Maybe we’ll live and learn, Maybe we’ll crash and burn”. It’s a clear-eyed acknowledgement of the risk we take when we choose to love. No guarantees, no predictability – just a deep connection worth fighting for. Legend leaves us with this powerful ambiguity, underlining the human potential to seize love’s paradoxes.

All in all, John Legend’s “Ordinary People” is an earnest and humble treaty on the trials and tribulations of love and relationships. It reminds us that love isn’t always glamorous or straightforward, but it’s the ordinary moments, the ordinary struggles, that truly make it an extraordinary journey.

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