Usher: Looking 4 Myself
It is so tangible to feel the long-standing influence of Michael Jackson among the rank and file of most top-selling R&B artists for a few reasons. First, all music evolves and is borrowed. The immeasurable gifts the King of Pop unselfishly gave to the world over are infinite and renowned. The best are simply always going to be inspired by, well, the best. Usher is no different, although his style and range as an artist have fluidly refined with time, his hard work and talent have gotten him to unmitigated levels of being a multi-platinum, Grammy award-winning artist. Although most do not come close to the mega-superstardom of Michael Jackson, it would be unwise to argue that Usher is not a close comparison. Within the undulation of his career, Usher continues to cultivate a sound slightly more advanced than the present, with enough pop and R&B layering that he continues to be unpredictable and more complex also even more emotionally moving and therefore, touchable and transparent. Whether or not it is the sleek, futuristic higher octave downer “Climax” or “Euphoria,” the tune that has a techno trounce designed to move the stiffest of wallflowers, it becomes obvious that this album is a dance album pushed through by a masterful multi-dynamic singer. “Hot Thing,” is a nasty, winding club joint and the wistful “I.F.U (I’m Freaking You)” engages with a mysterious violin riff, dubstep beats and a whole lot of sexy. On the hypnotic “Sins of My Father,” he describes perfectly the allure of the female species in smoked-out coolness. Easy on the ears in every part, each song on the new album, Looking 4 Myself, moves through with an energetic techno-fueled rebirth.