I saw a WSJ interview where the interviewer commented that Usher’s voice seemed to have gotten bigger on his new album Looking for Myself. I finally listened to the whole thing, and I have to agree. E’rybody knows I love me some Usher. Not for the looks – though I admit it doesn’t hurt that my man has the biggest hands, is incredibly fit and has the cutiest eyeballs and teeth ever – or the dancing – though that ain’t nothing to sneeze at either – but for his talent. It is all about that voice.
On this album he seems to have unleashed his signature sound, and in the process has managed to find a newness, a modernity that offers the listener something sorely lacking in much of todays’ offerings: quality.
Usher has long been a source of extreme production value, even at his cheesiest goodness. But now his vibrato is unrestrained, relentless and so very sexy. The album itself is a bit of a departure from his usual R&B dominated sound. I got a distinctly vintage feel, an almost 80s sound on a few tracks, and there was definitely a dance vibe throughout.
The music seemed to whisper, I’m good. Get your mind out of the gutter ya’ll. I meant in a spiritual, emotional sense. Obviously I’m inferring a lot here, having never interviewed Usher or met him, but if I could read between the tracks I would guess that if he’s not ecstatically happy he is certainly quite content.
He’s trying new things, experimenting, and still giving the people what they want with quintessential Usher on Climax, and the hip hop kiddies what they need a la Rick Rozay in Lemme See.
I’ve always thought it a shame that age has to come to some of us – myself for instance LOL – but especially to actors and singers and dancers whose artistry is intrinsically tied to their bodies. Usher’s been in the game for a minute, but I can’t discern any degradation of that beautiful sound at all – thank you, Lord for the vibrato!
My personal stand out cuts: I Care For You, Lessons for the Lover, Twisted, Sins of My Father, I.F.U., Can’t Stop Won’t Stop