Usher
Looking 4 Myself


3.5
great

Review

by Sobhi Youssef EMERITUS
June 15th, 2012 | 81 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Usher stumbles into his best record since Confessions

Looking 4 Myself is international R&B megastar Usher's seventh studio release and yet another attempt at regaining industry pertinence. Leading single "Climax" worked well to incite anticipation for future garage lovers worldwide, liberally borrowing from 2011 darling The Weeknd in concept and execution. While somewhat obvious in intentions, these darker electronic influences brought another element to an artist otherwise growing exponentially stale and irrelevant by the minute. "Climax" was a work of art pulling heavily from future garage; electronic mainstay Diplo's production was the perfect complement to Usher's emotive crooning. Expectations were locked in. Looking 4 Myself would easily be Usher's best effort since genre classic Confessions.

Unfortunately, Looking 4 Myself is a quite polarizing record. "Can't Stop Won't Stop" kicks things off with some dubstep and an interesting drop, but some truly cliched lyrics - Can't stop won't stop / Girl you are my sugar shop / Love you like a lollipop / From the bottom to the top / Imma get you wet - raincoat / Let me be your body soap / Up and down - rollercoaster / We can love forever. Apparently Usher has really developed a taste for lollipops. Follow-up single "Scream" is a bullshit club track, driven by cheesy synths and a generally anthemic chorus.

But then tracks like "I Care For U" slow down the BPM to where "Climax" created so much excitement, with some chilled-out wonky style production. The planning and layout of Looking 4 Myself is just baffling in this sense, as it repeats this pattern throughout the course of yet another bloated R&B affair, weighing in at 18 tracks for the deluxe version as released on Spotify. There is such an incredible dichotomy between generic club pop and genre creativity here, that it could almost be two separate records. The overproduced, disney-channel brand of production comes in full force on the obvious club single tracks, but gives way to thoughtful, atmospheric, and even cross-genre beats in other scenarios.

Regardless, Usher has not yet lost a step vocally - not surprising, as he is only 33 - his falsetto is beautiful as ever, and there really aren't obvious situations where autotune is abused. He goes verse for verse with Pharrell on "Twisted", while performing admirably on the dub-influenced expository piece "Sins of My Father". Featured rappers Rick Ross and A$AP Rocky are welcome surprises on "Lemme See" and "Hot Thing", respectively. In fact, "Hot Thing" is a perfect example of a straight fire and creative club track that doesn't exhaust pearl drop samples and synths. Conversely, Luke Steele's verses on the title track are unnecessary at best, vexing at worst. Without any quality control or stylistic cohesion, Usher stumbles into his best record since Confessions. If only this was better planned.



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user ratings (45)
Chart.
3.2
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
demigod!
June 15th 2012


44978 Comments


Sounds pretty interesting

Digging: Autechre - LP5

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
June 15th 2012


31475 Comments


Leading single "Climax" worked well to incite mass hysteria upon future garage lovers worldwide,


Wait, what?

Digging: Hyperdub - Hyperdub 10.4

kingsoby1
Emeritus
June 15th 2012


4951 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

should have excluded new zealand

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
June 15th 2012


31475 Comments


I don't get how you got future garage from that is all

PistolPete
June 15th 2012


3642 Comments


I'm just at that point where I'm not in the mood to give this guy a chance anymore. I always love like 4 songs and the rest is a struggle to get through. And this one is 18 tracks? Fack iunno

Digging: Skyharbor - Guiding Lights

kingsoby1
Emeritus
June 15th 2012


4951 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i feel like it really borrows a lot from future garage; it really was an obvious ripoff of the weeknd/ trying to get in on the fad up front

yeah i didn't like this a ton at first, but there's a ton of great tracks on here... but also some really effing terrible ones

PistolPete
June 15th 2012


3642 Comments


I really liked "So Many Girls" from Rv.R, fuck that song was like a savior in what was otherwise an average record. Obviously "OMG" and "More" would great too, but they were singles so it was expected they were good.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
June 15th 2012


31475 Comments


I get that it might remind you of, say a SBTRKT beat, but all he does (on his vocal stuff) is wrap a 2step beat around some minimal dubstep influence

This is future garage: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q7XOkyiTaEg


kingsoby1
Emeritus
June 15th 2012


4951 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Check out these tracks:

Climax
I Care For U
Lemme See
Twisted
Lessons For The Lover
Sins of my Father
2nd Round
Hot Thing

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
June 15th 2012


31475 Comments


If that was to me then yeah, I've heard 'Climax'

kingsoby1
Emeritus
June 15th 2012


4951 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

that was @ pwalcher.

but yeah, i'm not an expert on all the subgenres - but for some reason i was under the impression that stuff like the weeknd, jamie woon, james blake, etc was future garage.

PistolPete
June 15th 2012


3642 Comments


Man soby those were all actually pretty good, especially "I Care For U". Everythings got a more tamed and mellow vibe. I'd already heard Climax and thought it was decent.

Might as well give 'er a shot i guess now that i've listened to most of the album lol

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
June 15th 2012


31475 Comments


Blake and Woon are both dubstep, just with a lot of soul and R&B elements thrown in. Woon kinda stradles the line between garage and pop as well though. Personally, Future Garage is a superfluous term but for argument's sake there's still a clear line between what was garage and what is future garage (if you're a blogger or write for Pitchfork anyway)

kingsoby1
Emeritus
June 15th 2012


4951 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

it's definitely solid, except some of the tracks are a pure affront to music is all a-la:

Scream
Show Me
Dive
Numb
Euphoria

kingsoby1
Emeritus
June 15th 2012


4951 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

@dev, maybe a better term would R&Bstep, ha

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
June 15th 2012


31475 Comments


I'm sure a term like that is already in use somewhere haha

klap
Staff Reviewer
June 15th 2012


10543 Comments


the fact that there's a genre called "future garage" just makes me cringe

Digging: Jessie Ware - Tough Love

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
June 15th 2012


31475 Comments


Yeah, it was a pretty controversial thing when it came out

AsoTamaki
June 15th 2012


2525 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Awesome album. Really covering every inch of the genre. It's all over the place in a way, but I never really felt like "Usher, why are you trying to do a song a like this?" or anything. Very successful at most of what was attempted here.

Mordecai.
June 15th 2012


8281 Comments


will check this out but omg so many songs...



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