Full disclosure, I’m pretty much guaranteed to love anything Usher does. His Album 2012, Looking 4 Myself is no exception! I’ve been a fan since puberty. In fact, I’m pretty sure Usher is who jump-started my hormones. Yum.
His angle with this album is that he’s creating a whole new genre of music, “revolutionary pop.” I don’t if you’re creating it, Usher, so much as naming it, but fine. I’ll allow it. This album’s blend of pop, R&B and electronic music is nothing new to fans of the mash-up of styles that’s taken over Top 40 radio in the last few years. See also: Rihanna and Calvin Harris.
The first track, “Can’t Stop Won’t Stop” is your usual will.i.am joint. Forget about verses of any substance, we have a catchy bass-heavy house beat and a sample from “Uptown Girl!” (listen closely or you’ll miss it!) The second track “Scream” is obviously auto-tuned, but I’m not sure why after seeing his flawless performance on Saturday Night Live recently. Lana Del Rey should take notes. The man can still sing after all these years! Not to mention shit out albums better than anything Chris Brown has made. Ahem. Moving right along…
The highlight of this album is the lead single, “Climax.” His voice on this just gives me chills. Those high notes! It’s like Usher wanted to remind everyone with this song that he’s still the best in the R&B game. He managed to (successfully) meld the house sounds that the radio loves these days with an old school Usher song, while singing his ass off at the same time.
I got just a little excited when I saw that one of the songs, “Twisted,” was produced by and featuring my #1 music biz crush, Pharrell. Not only is he just a little more than ok-looking, he’s maybe my favorite producer of all time. “Twisted” is a funky little number over a classic spare, drum-machine heavy Neptunes beat. This one has a sassy Prince vibe to it.
And last but not least, you guys! I usually am completely indifferent to Swedish House Mafia, but with Usher involved I am so on board it’s not even funny. The last track on Looking 4 Myself, “Euphoria,” closes the album with a bang! This is the best dance track that’s not on the radio yet. It sounds like the feeling at the end of those nights at Coachella when you’re exhausted, but then someone drops that song that everyone knows the words to, and you forget how much your feet hurt and how hungry you are and just DRINK IT ALL IN AND DANCE. Euphoria is right. Well played sirs.
And well played Usher Raymond IV on this whole Album 2012, Looking 4 Myself. Please don’t ever leave us! R&B needs you.