Album Review: Usher, 'Looking 4 Myself'

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4.5

USHER
Looking 4 Myself
Producers: various
RCA Records
Release Date: June 12

In the interviews surrounding the release of Usher's seventh album, "Looking 4 Myself," the singer discussed the wide variety of music that influenced the set, ranging from electronic dance music to folk-rockers Mumford & Sons. And while there's a prominent EDM sound on many of the tracks (folk, not so much), the sound has fused seamlessly with R&B, making "Looking 4 Myself," at its best, a truly next-level soul album. One that has the warm, organic feel of R&B and deep pop hooks, but also the pulsating low-end and shimmering keyboard flourishes of EDM. Usher has assembled a murderer's row of top-shelf songwriter/producers, spanning from unsurprising collaborators (Will.i.am, Danja, Pharrell, Max Martin) to less-expected ones (Diplo, Swedish House Mafia, Noah "40" Shebib). There are also cameos from Rick Ross and labelmate A$AP Rocky. It's a sprawling album (18 tracks on the deluxe edition) with many highlights, but the truly stellar songs include "Climax," "Scream," "Dive" and especially "Numb," a Scandinavian all-star pileup involving SHM, Robyn collaborator Klas Ahlund and Alesso.

Scream by Usher Raymond Music

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