Usher, "Papers"

80 Billboard Rating

With its layered harmonies, mellow production and lyrics of heartache, Usher's "Papers" closely resembles his 2004 No. 1 hit "Burn," and that's a very good thing. It's the first time in a while that the singer sounds energized, as he unleashes deeply personal lyrics about the real-life sacrifices he made for love. "For you I gave my heart and turned my back against the world/'Cause you were my girl," he sings, a thinly veiled reference to ex-wife Tameka Foster-Raymond. "I done turned into the man that I never thought I'd be/I'm ready to sign them papers." The overwhelming fan response to "Papers" has provided an early boost in anticipation of Usher's forthcoming album, "Raymond vs. Raymond," meaning fans will hopefully hear more breakup laments from the R&B heavyweight soon.

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