Usher returns with “Looking 4 Myself” which marks the singers seventh studio album. It’s no secret or surprise that he’s serious with moving forward with this new electric pop dance sound that he’s been dabbling in lately. Usher has reached the point in his career where he has decided it’s time for rebranding and reshaping. Needless to say the singer should be very careful and selective on what material he chooses to put out.
On “Looking 4 Myself” the sound comes across light and breezy. You would think with the album title that we’ll get an album that will take strides of music expression due to the fact he’s been experimental with his sound. However, we got none of that. The collection of songs are all over the place rather than give an overall theme. The album serves eighteen tracks that compiles into the deluxe edition. Yet, as to what genre the album falls under is a mystery? The LP does indeed issue an overall pop sound with a dash of R&B, but the dance tracks disturbs the flow of the album. Not to mention that he didn’t work with his MVP (most valuable producer) Jermaine Dupri this time around, so there aren’t any power ballads on the album. Dupri has been the driving force behind most of Usher’s number 1 hit songs and ballads I.E. “Nice & Slow” “U Got It Bad” and “Burn” all have been written and produced by Dupri himself. Rappers Rick Ross and Pharrell both make guest appearances on the album being the only features.
Stand out tracks on the album are “Sins of My Father” “Euphoria” and “Twisted.” “Twisted” has an old school R&B 60’s sound to it, while “Euphoria” is a hardcore dance track that has crossover appeal. These songs will definitely be fan favorites. While songs such as “Say The Words” and the title track “Looking 4 Myself” both sound as if they were trying to channel Prince. The project definitely serves as an album where a lot of music experimenting took place, but as he continues to abandon his R&B roots are we left to decide between music exploration or selling out?
L4M is not a bad album the least, but just not what we’ve heard from Usher over the past six albums either. The project sounds like remnants of Chris Brown’s “F.A.M.E.” album. The collection of songs are enjoyable, but lacks direction, hence the album title.
Looking 4 Myself will only do well because of his early success and name, not the album content as a whole. We’re not sure where the R&B Usher has gone or if he’ll return, but we do hope he finds himself as he continues to look for himself.