Monday, May 6, 2013

'Looking' For Usher Again...

Usher Raymond.

Just based on the fact that I wrote that name there, you're thinking of the hits. Some would call out "Nice And Slow", "U Remind Me", or even "My Way" to start. From there you'd probably think about singing (or humming if you can't) "U Got It Bad" or "U Don't Have To Call". I've personally taken a few moments to sing (since I can) a little of each. I even took the time to spell out Usher's name like he did on "Nice And Slow". But all this leads me to the album of all Usher albums.


"Yeah!" is probably the most obvious song to sing here. This is followed by "Confessions, Pt. 2" or even "Caught Up". I was thinking about "Can U Handle It?" and "Bad Girl". Of course, no trip through Confessions is complete without singing "Burn" in its entirety.

A lot of people would take this moment to look past Here I Am, maybe even call it Usher's worst album. Personally, I don't think there's a such thing as a bad Usher album. He's like T.I. in that respect. Besides, you all know you sang along to "Love In This Club" (both versions), "Moving Mountains", and "Here I Stand" at one time or another thanks to the radio.

Raymond v. Raymond was a juggernaut of an album. Mostly when I think on the album I find myself singing "There Goes My Baby", "Mars vs. Venus", and "Making Love (Into The Night)" because they are all amazing love songs. Versus gave me "DJ Got Us Falling In Love" and "Hot Toddy", two songs I'm eternally grateful for.

I took the time to go through some of Usher's resume simply because I'm reviewing his latest album on this one, an album called Looking 4 Myself. Let's jump in.

As I said a little ways up there is NO SUCH THING as a bad Usher album. Looking 4 Myself is no exception to that statement. This is that usual mixture of love, heartfelt tracks, and club hits. On anyone else a repetitive formula would be insulted. But Raymond is so talented and so well versed in his Grammy winning formula that there's no need to fix something that doesn't need to be repaired.

"Can't Stop Won't Stop" is one of those aforementioned club bangers. It puts me in mind of the assisted "OMG" and the David Guetta helmed "Without You". Being that I loved both of those songs it stands to reason that I'm all in for this track. The same for "Scream", with its pounding techno beat and Usher's amazing vocals dancing over the beat as always. My favorite part of this track is when the chorus comes around after each verse.

"Climax"  is in the same vein as "Burn" for a few simple reasons. Each starts slowly with a sound effect of some sort as the first thing you hear. Each also speaks of heartbreak with "Burn" her leaving him as "Climax" shows him leaving her. These songs compliment each other well. "Climax" builds quickly and captures you instantly. I love that.

Now, if you've been keeping up with my articles (and you have this album already) you have a clue what song I'm going to review next. "Lemme See" is a track where Usher once again teams with Florida rapper Rick Ross to make an amazing sound. The song is Usher basically calling the bluff of young woman whose been speaking about getting him alone the entire night. Ross' delivery as featured artist plays well of of Usher's verses.

Also check out "Show Me", "Lessons For The Lover" and "Euphoria" to name a few.

Usher drops another classic into an already impressive catalogue. What great work he'll give us next remains to be seen.

written by
Lucius Black for Royalty Magazine

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