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.