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Exclusive: Usher Previews New Music / Talks New LP With That Grape Juice

Published: Friday 23rd Mar 2012 by Sam

Usher is back!

And in more ways than the literal, if the material played at his London listening session is anything to go by.

The R&B superstar assembled a who’s who of the UK media at the trendy central London venue last night (March 22nd) for an exclusive playback of tracks he’s been cooking up for his new album.

That Grape Juice was in the house and quizzed the man himself on what the LP will be serving up.

Get the full scoop on the follow-up to 2010’s ‘Raymond vs Raymond’ after the jump!

Track-By-Track Preview:

Please note, as tracks are still in finishing stages, no titles were provided. Just played.

Track #1 – Climax: Need we say more?

Track #2 – Unnamed: Dance-heavy. Synth-heavy. Evocative of ‘DJ Got Us Falling In Love’.

Track #3 – Looking For Myself (TBC): Wholly “different” for Usher and unlike anything we’ve thus far from him. A guitar-driven, bouncy, Urban-meets-Pop mid-tempo. Solid.

Track #4 – Take That Dive (TBC): Produced by Rico Love (as per his trademark “turn the lights on”). A distinctly R&B mid-tempo with a pulsating “thump”. Great vocal production in the way of layering and texture. Boasts an anthemic chorus.

Track #5 – Unnamed: Perhaps the most “interesting” cut of the bunch, its Caribbean-flavoured production presents a unique backdrop for Usher’s patois inspired delivery. “Oh na, this woman put a hex on me. She finna put that sex on me”. Great track.

Track #6 – Let Me See (TBC): As became a trend with the latter cuts, this whimsical number seemingly offered up a number of songs in one. Beginning like a quiet storm of sorts (think Kelly Rowland‘s ‘Motivation’), the track builds into a busy climax.

Track #7 – Unnamed: Easily the most “radio-ready” of the tracks, this is clearly geared at the dancefloor. Heavy on the Pop gloss, this features a pronounced “stomp”, as the singer belts laid-back lyrics “show my what you come her for”. A definite party/ club cut.

Track #8 – Unnamed: Urban-Dance at its premium, balanced best. While lyrically not offering much, the pulsating production takes centre-stage here. Usher infectiously sings “I hope you’re ready to go all night. Let me hear you say “oh baby”, “oh baby”, “oh baby”. An uptempo if we’ve heard one, the bridge sees things slow right down into border-line ballad territory, building into a euphoric last chorus. Epic and a “must” for the single treatment.

Track #9 – Unnamed: Clearly, the best was saved until last. As this uptempo was an absolute banger (and received a unanimous round of applause). Best characterised as schizophrenic, this Electro-Pop-Urban fusion effortlessly weaves three tracks into one. Leaving no confusion as to the song’s agenda, the star sings “we came to party up, we came to party up” over the Ibiza ready chorus. A monster smash.

The Sound:

Immediately palpable is that Usher has re-embraced his R&B roots. Indeed, fans of his Urban offerings will be pleased to discover that current single ‘Climax’ isn’t a fluke. Present on the project are a vast number of markedly “Urban” cuts. And while recent efforts haven’t been wholly Pop affairs, they’ve arguably lacked in single-worthy R&B numbers. A relative issue which has been consciously remedied this go round.

Talking to That Grape Juice at the event, the Grammy winner said: “I really wanted to bring back the soulfulness this time. And yet do so from a different perspective. A perspective of growth”.

To help craft such material, the singer tells That Grape Juice that he has enlisted Rico Love, Salaam Remi, Luke Steel, Swedish House Mafia, Diplo, among others.

And while Urban is where the heart is, it’s important to stress that the 33 year old hasn’t ditched dancefloor. And why would he? The likes of ‘OMG’ and ‘DJ Got Us Falling In Love’ serve as some of his biggest hits yet. As such, tracks in vein of  both also appear.

Misc:

* Contrary to erroneous reports, the album is not titled ‘The Shanterance’. Prayer works.

* A title has not been decided, as of yet.

———————————-

And there, friends, you have it. Lookout for an Usher take-over this Summer! You ready?

Your thoughts?

 

Comments 30

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  1. KAT DELUNA FAN March 23, 2012

    l am happy the men are back in the game
    however,his previous album didnt deserve the grammys it won.

    cant wait ffor th album

  2. Chinny March 23, 2012

    Seems like more dance

  3. YOOSONDALOOSE March 23, 2012

    Can’t wait for this album! Usher rocks!

  4. Grammy dammy sammy March 23, 2012

    This doesnt make me eager for the new album at all. On the contrary it’s unappetizing. The chart success of the last album shows he still the mass appeal after confessions nonetheless he should have waited till he was genuinely inspired before puttin out a new album. He was on tour most of last year. I think he just wants to avoid long breaks like the one he had after confessions era. Even tbough i cant stand chris brown for a second, his FAME era was more balanced in terms of pop vs urban appeal. He edges out Usher with that but Usher is 100 times better as a musician so i hope at least his vocals and sonics win me over

  5. Frachella March 23, 2012

    * Contrary to erroneous reports, the album is not titled ‘The Shanterance’. Prayer works.
    TGJ, please you are one of those “erroneous” websites that reported the title as “The Shanterance.”

  6. John92 March 23, 2012

    i hope we will get more than just 9 tracks :/ i didn’t like that “versus” was just shortly released after “raymond” came out with just a few more songs…

  7. Dale__23 March 23, 2012

    I’m ready.

    Raymond v. Raymond was a touchdown….and this sounds even better.

  8. RIHANNANAVY CAPTAIN March 23, 2012

    This album’s descriptions seems to be on par with Confessions…I’m ready for the Usher-takeover.

    Has anyone notice that Usher’s takeovers with each album are very sneaky and quiet? He doesn’t have to make huge announcements about release dates and singles like most artists. Props to him.

  9. D.Strock March 23, 2012

    I can’t wait! And Hallelujah for the title change

  10. Usher Fan no.1 March 23, 2012

    The songs tentative names are “Numb”, “Scream”, “Show Me”, “Sins of my Father” and “Euphoria”. I’m loving the direction but I hope he doesn’t overdo it with Dance tracks. Raymond v Raymond itself only had 2 (OMG and So Many Girls) and the deluxe added DJ Got Us Fallin’ in Love, I hope he keeps it that way, but it’s still early, 9 tracks were showcased that there will be at least 12-14 on the album.

    Also I’m surprised RCA is thinking about releasing both Fortune and this around the same time… I know knowing Usher, the album will be delayed to maybe August, but seeing as Climax has already been released and he’s been giving demos. I just don’t want Chris Brown fans attacking Usher’s new material for no reason or that his material gets overshadowed by Chris’ more dance and pop friendly tracks.

    Finally, I wonder who the featured artists will be? Reports are saying Empire of the Sun singer Luke Steele will be in Looking for Myself (which btw, is very Bruno Mars inspired apparently), but who else? Seeing as it’s going to be more global, Tinie Tempah would make sense, as would Rihanna. But I’d like to see featured artists like Kanye West and Drake as well.

  11. Failure 03 March 23, 2012

    @RIHANNANAVY CAPTAIN

    Usher normally doesn’t do a lot of media coverages or interviews to promote his stuff to the max like say Beyonce or Katy Perry, but that’s also due to how he’s just not that popular anymore.

    He tried to promote Raymond v Raymond really hard, he performed OMG practically everywhere but the album didn’t even outsell Here I Stand. It’s was a more commercial success due to how all the singles managed to hit the top 40, but it still only sold 2 million worldwide thus far.

    I think what he’s doing with this album is perfect. He’s not the media information outburst type but his material always got leaked months prior to the albums release and that hasn’t happened yet so that way he can keep people more hooked. I have high hopes for at least two top 10’s and him getting his 10th no.1 hit on hot 100.

  12. MsThing485 March 23, 2012

    If it ain’t my ol’ school R&B Usher, then I’m not interested. I want “You Make Me Wanna,” “Nice & Slow,” “U Remind Me,” “U Got It Bad,” “Confessions” Usher back. If he’s here serving up more “OMG” and “DJ Got Us Falling In Love,” then he can keep that mess. “Climax” is okay, but the “electro” elements of it bother me. Let Gaga, Katy, and wannabes like Rihanna and Chris do that silly Twitter generation dance s***. Usher (and Beyonce) I expect to keep it real. If they can’t, then they lost a fan.

  13. AalexisR March 23, 2012

    Yee BOI!

  14. yaya March 23, 2012

    I’m a person who listens to all types of music , so the “DJ Got Us…” & “OMG” Usher does not bother me. Those are good dance song IMO. But, of course I love the soulful Usher. 8701 & Confessions is played all the time.

    The descriptions of the album so far, make me even more excited. I think it’s time for soul music to make a comeback and Usher will of course be in the front of the movement. Along with great dance tracks, proving that he is still the best dancer out there today.

  15. Mathew March 23, 2012

    Can not wait! this album will be so epic and i cant wait to hear the Swedish house mafia record. That will take over and shut it down!!!

  16. Ernestine March 23, 2012

    Honestly, Usher needs to decide what type of artist he wants to be. Like someone said, if he is going to bring the OMG and DFIN thing again, I will not buy it. Plain and simple. Not interested. I want the confessions/8701 Usher who I fell in love with.

  17. honeydip March 23, 2012

    FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER @HONEY_DIP11 I FOLLOW BACK!

  18. letitbeme March 26, 2012

    Idk about usher anymore….im not too excited about this one either that last album SUCKED!!!

  19. we got soul March 26, 2012

    YES! My baby is back!!!!! I’m sooo excited and I’m not missing this tour!

  20. we got soul March 26, 2012

    @ failure 3 –

    WTF are u talking about? Usher’s last CD went platinum in the U.S and that’s hard to do these days in the U.S. …. ask Rihanna…. his OMG arena tour completely sold out. too … Usher has put out consistently good music.

  21. business reviews May 13, 2012

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