Usher’s Confessions was my JAM in 2004. It combined the openness and sinfulness that attracts listeners’ to his R&B sound. When it comes to love, Usher can get into trouble, something he acknowledges throughout this record. For Usher, his music gold comes from his mistakes, and how he sonically amends or accepts them in front of listeners.
By now you have heard rave reviews over Usher’s Hard II Love, and they truly are right. The album soars because it brings in the perfect mesh of Old, Broody Usher (Confessions, My Way) and New Synthetically- Fused Usher (Looking 4 Myself). Now let me explain my vast, loyal love for Usher before you get your torches. I have love for Usher’s music, and his capacity to grow, but like most artists, there are always a few albums that feel like a testing of sound. Despite the hits they contain, they just feel like an altogether music experiment until the artist settles into their reinvented self. For me, Usher’s Raymond VS Raymond and Looking For Myself had hits, but not the all out “odyssey” feel that Confessions managed to strike. It was this multi-platinum album that launched Usher into more than just a singer; he was a storyteller. His music took people into the intimacies, literally, of his life. Still, one must remember Usher’s first album, Usher, dropped in 1994. This is more than two decades of swimming in the changing currents that is mainstream music, and, luckily, he has a Michael Phelps’ stroke.
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Hard II Love is a good album because it combines Usher’s narrative vulnerability to a modern backdrop. Looking 4 Myself had elements of electronica that are sweeping modern day music. For Millennials, born and raised with a computer, mainstream music feels like you are within a virtual reality. While Usher thrives in the heart and soul of a story. Thus, Hard II Love brings Usher the Millennial way by perfectly giving him a virtual, R&B sound for his heartfelt tales.
By now, Usher has a wide fanbase that understand his essence. He is this generation’s Marvin Gaye; bringing a sultry voice and dance mix to express the perks and plots of love. While I think Hard II Love can attract new fans, it, more importantly, gives new life to the ones he already has. This album is a fresh Usher with a new best, and it comes out September 16. Click here to buy Hard II Love and learn more about Usher.