He’s a world renowned R&B legend with a musical career of over 20 years, blessing our ears with seven stunning albums; it’s none other than Usher Raymond IV. Some call him the prince of R&B, others call him a club poppin’ hit-maker, with hits like “Burn!” and “DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love”; whichever Usher track is your favourite, I guarantee you haven’t heard anything like “Looking For Myself” before. Usher describes his own sound on this album as “revolutionary pop”; a step away from the Guetta movement of today’s pop music and a reinvention of classic R&B.
The production credits vary from Neptune’s frontman Pharrell, who co-produced and lays vocals on “Twisted”, Noah “40” Shebib (Drake’s producer, Swedish House Mafia on the fantastic “Euphoria” track and of course Diplo, who produced the unique lead-single “Climax”. What all of these tracks have in common is a move away from the classic smooth R&B sound and a move towards the future, we hear elements of motown, swing, dubstep, progressive house and hip-hop which altogether create a neo-Usher sound.
Hooking up with David Guetta on the deluxe edition of “Nothing But The Beat” wasn’t as fruitful commercially as Usher first thought. The joint track titled“Without You” was vastly overshadowed by Nicki Minaj’s “Turn Me On”. However, “Looking For Myself” is filled with impressive, varied sounds, making it impossible to select a favourite, but I’ll do my best. The commercial highlights of the album are “Scream”, “Euphoria” and “Climax” which will take over the airwaves very shortly (if they haven’t already) but the depth of the album is truly unveiled on “Lemme See” (ft. Rick Ross), “Twisted” (ft. Pharrell), and the deluxe edition A$AP Rocky assisted “Hot Thing”. But none of these quite compare to the dark twist on romance on “I Care for U” surrounded by the filthy bassline that wobbles and oscilates through the speakers, cutting delicately through the resonating vocals.
This is what modern R&B has evolved into, but it can’t really be contained within one box anymore, it spreads a variety of genres and I’d happily let Usher lead the revolution. If the future of the music scene sounds anything like “Looking For Myself” in terms of beats, that’s a transition, I’ll warmly welcome. Make sure you check out the SuchATune Series: Usher Mixtape