Album Review: Usher – Looking 4 Myselfby Rahul Pandya on Jun, 12 2012
After 2003′s Confessions, Usher had seemingly lost his way as R&B’s dominant male among an assortment of dance and contemporary urban records. Truthfully, Usher continued to make meaningful songs much like those from earlier in his career. It’s just that those songs were part of scattered projects that lacked the completeness that Confessions so flawlessly provided.
Looking 4 Myself is not an attempt to find that 2003 magic, however. Rather, it is Usher’s attempt at exploring himself musically and transcending the music his early career was defined by. He trades in longtime partners Jermaine Dupri and Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis for electro-pop producers Diplo and Swedish House Mafia, and these new collaborators truly bring out the best in Usher. “Climax”, the first single, is a genre-bending, modern update on the typical mid-tempo ballad about an end of a relationship.
Still, Usher falls into the same rut he’s been in with his previous two efforts. Looking 4 Myself is a poorly sequenced, awkwardly tossed together collection of songs, some fantastic, some just mediocre. He doesn’t necessarily need a narrative to tie it all together, but perhaps realizing a certain direction would convince him to go above and beyond Looking‘s ambiguous songwriting and poor efforts to broaden an audience. These qualities only lessen the significance of the few personable songs presented.
Those special records do exist, though. “What Happened To U” is a colorful collage of melodies over a track from Drake’s right hand man, Noah “40″ Shebib about a love lost due to success, built upon the hi-hat/horn intro to Biggie’s “One More Chance (Remix)”.
Usher may have found a new version of himself. Unfortunately, he just may not have dug deep enough to truly find the best in himself.
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