USHER

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - ENTERTAINMENT -

FOR Usher’s last mon­strously suc­cess­ful al­bum, you need to go all the way back to 2004’s Con­fes­sions. Sure, he’s had a hand­ful of hit sin­gles in be­tween, but the al­bums in their en­tirety were fairly medi­ocre. On Look­ing 4 My­self, he’s up­dated his sound in order to com­pete with the flavours of the day. That is to say, the bal­lads have a dub­step vibe to them now, and the club tracks are a lot less hip hop and a lot more Euro­dance. Asi­nine al­bum opener Can’t Stop Won’t Stop loosely uses Billy Joel’s Up­town Girl, and is quite ob­vi­ously pro­duced by Will.i.am, who pulls out all his an­noy­ing lit­tle tricks. Thank­fully, Usher quickly fol­lows this up with the sim­ply sub­lime Scream, which sounds very much like a close rel­a­tive to DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love.

From there, we get sev­eral pleas­ant mid-tempo pop-R&B num­bers in­clud­ing the plinky, feel-good stand-out Show Me. But he’s at his best when he de­vi­ates from the norm with tracks like the wob­bly, retro-funk of Twisted with Phar­rell, the bump­ing bass line and odd­ball vi­o­lin on I.F.U., or the grimy soul of Sins of My Fa­ther, which wouldn’t seem out of place on a Tarantino sound­track.

It’s a bit of a mixed bag, but in the era of iTunes, fans will def­i­nitely be able to pick and choose some­thing they like here.

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