At long last, I got the album! I crave for it for four loooong months. I keep on waiting for its deluxe edition but for some reasons I don’t know what, it’s still unavailable in the music store.
Looking 4 Myself is Usher’s seventh studio album, which was released on June 8, 2012. While listening to it, I immediately realize that the album is differently unique from his earlier releases. Its overall look and feel is different. This is completely a new Usher, a completely new artist who’s in search of his identity and while looking for that identity, he decided to experiment with various genre. I’m glad he didn’t completely say bye-bye to his R&B roots. The album has fourteen tracks and only six of which are into pop/electro.
Track #1: Can’t Stop Won’t Stop
It’s a burning dance-pop track with no R&B feel at all. Non-R&B fans will surely love it! I like it, it’s nearly the perfect sound to jumpstart a busy working day. The question I ask myself is – Am I crazy about it? No.
Track #2: Scream
Scream is all about FUN!! It’s a dance-pop song with an immediate party-vibe to the ears. It’s not my genre at all and I’m not crazy about it too, but it’s still good.
Track #3: Climax
Climax saves the day! The track gives an official signal that the album started. This is the exact type of beat I’m looking for. It’s completely new, completely experimental but I can still feel R&B. It feels like I’m listening to “electronic” soul and at the same time, I’m feeling the drama.
Track #4: I Care for U
The Old-school Usher with a soul is back! Thank God for this track and it completely satisfies my hunger. The beat immediately takes me to another level.
Track #5: Show me
Two words to describe this track – simple and cute.
Track #6: Lemme See
This is FULL-BLAST!!! It’s a real hip-hop track that isn’t forgettable at all. In five years time, I can still have the urge to dance.
Track #7: Twisted
This ain’t be the best track on the album yet I’m still feeling the vibe. Thanks Pharrel!
Track #8: Dive
Usher sings about sex again. Who cares? I love this track. The track paints a whole new picture about sex. Listen to every word and you’ll realize sex isn’t just a physiological need. Usher sprinkles a lot of extra layers to it. He even compares it to diving because he wants you to dig into the art of making love. That act of making love with someone is one way of expressing a bond – a genuine connection between you and your partner. Even with its average performance in music charts, I love every second of Dive, my #1 favorite track in the album. I love its music video too. I just couldn’t understand why it won’t reach the Top 10 in US R&B Billboard Charts.
Track #9: What Happened to U
It’s a lovely romantic song. I like how Usher articulates his deep longing for someone. He captures the right emotions for the song and this is clearly one of my favorite tracks. It’s S-O-DOPE!!!
Track #10: Looking 4 Myself
I’m a bit disappointed with the title track. I expected a neo-soul track filled with hope and resilience. Yet, this track got an unexpected vibe that’s unique. It doesn’t meet my expectations at all – still there’s something special showered all over. It’s a way of saying “I’m looking for myself” in a not-so-serious way.
Track #11: Numb
Numb is the only non-R&B track I love the most. It’s inspiring, it got the swag and above all, I can listen to this track again and again without getting tired. “I can feel it now.”
Track #12: Lessons for the Lover
This is strong R&B with an excellent pounding start! Usher is on his zone and he’s feeling every word of the song. This is the type of sound I’m expecting for the title track.
Track #13: Sins of My Father
This is Old-school R&B, brotha! This track is a real stand-out from the rest. I’m hoping Usher will release a music video for the track.
Track #14: Euphoria
It’s a great song to close an album. It’s a non-R&B track though its pop-dance vibe is still worth the listen.
The deluxe edition has four more songs, which are entitled I.F.U., Say the Words, 2nd Round and Hot Thing. I already listen to these songs via YouTube. All four are not a disappoint.
Conclusion: I’m an Usher’s fan since junior high. I got all his albums and I saw all his music videos. I’m not a professional music critic though as a fan, I can positively say Looking 4 Myself marks an arrival of a new all-round artist. I’m still adjusting with the new sounds that Usher embraces on – and someday, I’ll get used to it. Marketing-wise, revolutionary pop means good marketing. The idea of putting non-R&B songs in what supposed to be a R&B/Hip-Hop/Soul album gives way for all non-R&B fans to connect with Usher. PERSONAL RATING: 6.5 of 10 stars!
Yet, too much experimentation is bad. I already read hundreds of negative fan reviews about the album. For sure, these fans felt the same way like I do. I don’t know if this suggestion makes sense but it’s nicer if Usher went for a two-disc album, Disc #1 is for R&B only while Disc #2 is for revolutionary pop. I don’t care if the album is a lot more expensive. I can save money to support Usher.
It will be a difficult road to take but Usher needs to make a better choice for his next album. It’s either evolve with a genre he used to have or evaporate with a new promotional genre that hundreds of fans dislike.