I’ve been a fan of Usher’s since my age was in single digits, and I was far too young to be singing along to songs such as Nice and Slow. I missed his first album, Usher, mainly because I was six when it came out, but his second album, My Way, made me a believer.
I’ve been riding with Mr Raymond ever since: through the glory days of 8701 and Confessions, and the not-so-great and all-over-the-place days of Versus and Looking for Myself (all of which I bought and jammed to).
Usher is a talented someone. Even so, he did have a weird transition from R&B king to relevant contemporary pop artist and, at some point, it seemed as if he just wasn’t getting it right.
Now, on his first album in four years and his eighth overall, he seems to be moving between old school R&B to pop.
I’ve been waiting for Hard II Love since I heard the lead singles Crash and No Limit, which are great. I found myself repeating Bump and Missin U a few times after the first listen, because it’s sexy R&B with a playful hip-hop sample (featuring what sounds like Lil Jon).
Usher, like Frank Ocean, goes for more is more, with 15 tracks. It honestly could have been three or four tracks shorter.
The production is strong, with credits from The Dream, Metro Boomin, Pharrell Williams and Raphael Saadiq, to name a few.
It’s hard not to like this album, even with some of its flaws, and I’m pretty delighted there’s new Usher music in the world.
Available for R109.99 on iTunes here.
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