Usher released his long-awaited follow-up to the über successful Raymond vs. Raymond today with an unexpected new sound. Though many critics call Usher’s seventh studio album, Looking 4 Myself, one of his strongest ever; the project left me looking for my money back.
The 14-track album features tracks from Rico Love, Will.I.Am, Jim Jonsin, Max Martin, and Diplo among others. It also features cameos from Rick Ross, ASAP Rocky, and Pharell. While his first single, Climax is currently at No. 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and No. 1 on the Hip-Hop/R&B Songs chart, it has failed to win me over since its release last month.
I can respect and actually applaud an artist who isn’t afraid to push boundaries and challenge preconceptions, but I think Usher has taken this reinvention a bit too far. What many critics are praising as ˜groundbreaking’ and ˜genre-crossing’ really just sounds retro and recycled to me. The lines between innovation and replication have blurred, and I’m left with an album that feels like a cross between pop hits from the late 1980s and *NSYNC circa 2001 on their No Strings Attached tour. (more…)