Are You Buying? Usher’s New Album ‘Hard II Love’

Published: Saturday 17th Sep 2016 by Rashad

Let some critics tell it, R&B superstar Usher‘s new album, ‘Hard II Love,’ does not live up to its title.

Noted by many-a-reviewer for its tracklist being lined with moving ballads and daring departures from mainstream R&B, the set’s lead singles –‘Crash,’ ‘No Limit’ (ft. Young Thug), and ‘Rivals’ (featuring Future) – have proven themselves a clear, yet strategic and intentional attempts to draw today’s younger listeners.

From where we (the buying public) stand in relation to the boardroom (on the outside looking in), however, it appears the strategic tactics stopped there.  For, with a surprise early release and few promotional appearances to announce its availability, the absence of buzz for the project may see ‘Hard II Love’ very ‘Hard II Find’ in the upper rankings of the Billboard 200.

An alarming fact given the high hopes many had for ‘Hard’ to help return the one-time chart champion back to his former glory…

History has shown us Usher is an anomaly when it comes to the class of R&B stars he graduated from the 90s with (see:  Brandy, Monica, etc.).  Indeed, despite a number of commercial and critical hiccups over the past decade (as it’s no secret Ush has had difficulty finding solid sonic footing), he’s still maintained a level of relevance that has allowed the buying public to forgive his previous efforts and maintain high levels of hope and anticipation for his future releases.

While in theory that level of dedication is an asset it also puts serious pressure on him to outdo himself – a feat even more challenging for a 37-year-old R&B star who has inconsistently tried to balance the desires of his core fan base with attempts to reach new audiences (EDM, “trap,” etc).  ‘Hard II Love’ is evidence of yet another try at this and lends itself to the recurring theme of Ush’s career over the past decade:  walking the fine line between eclecticism and “throwing everything against the wall to see what sticks.”

Will ‘Hard II Love’ stick?  The official sales projections, which are due any day now, will tell the true story.  Until we find out, tell us:

Your thoughts?

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  1. Pat September 17, 2016

    I think i will today…i need new music

    • FC/JC September 17, 2016

      I havent heard a satisfying single, to make the decision to buy…. Ill just wait to hear what becomes popular off the album, if anything at all. He better start sucking up to radio.

  2. Meme September 17, 2016

    I will stream it when it becomes available on the platform I pay for (Spotify). I refuse to go out my way and download any other app to listen to his album. If your music isn’t convenient reach for me as a consumer, I’m not supporting.

    • RihNavy September 17, 2016

      Sis, you realize that it’s been available to stream on Spotify since Thursday right? He doesn’t have any exclusivity deals with other services. #DoYourResearchBeforeYouComment

      • Yaya September 17, 2016

        Actually, Usher is part owner of Tidal and he did give them early streaming. I personally love Usher’s album, but I have to agree with Meme. This BS artist are doing with trying to force us into a certain service is annoying. Its not working and they should all just stop it.

  3. The Infinite One September 17, 2016

    That’s the ugliest cover I have ever seen. It looks like his face has a s**! Wtf ??

  4. LmfaoHoe September 17, 2016

    Personally I love Tell Me and Missin U those are great. Idk about the album just yet, gotta stream it but Ill defintely purchase the two singles i mentioned separately from Itunes.

    • B&B September 17, 2016

      The album was unexpectedly GREAT to me… I honestly wasnt expecting this quality of music from Usher. Confessions is a classic but he hasnt caught my attention since then. Tell Me and Missin U are my favorites, especially Tell Me i hope he makes a special performance for that one!!!!!

      Oh! And his vocals are pretty decent, he aint lost it yet.

  5. Legendtina September 17, 2016

    No. Usher is the male Pink tbh. Always jumping on the latest trend to appeal to the younger crowd. He has always been a trend follower with his team of writers and producers to keep him afloat. And that was completely fine with me, the music was good. He hasnt put out anything good since Raymond vs Raymond imo. I’ll stream the songs that I like but that is all.

    • #Nicole Nation September 17, 2016

      Real talk! Ush is the biggest trend follower! I love a lot of his songs, great voice, very talented but I can’t deny the facts!

  6. Yaya September 17, 2016

    Has anyone looked at the charts lately? Did anyone see the group that had the #1 song in the country struggle at the MTV awards? R&B is on life support period, so I don’t expect it to be on pop charts. However, I do expect Usher to be relevance back to the R&B charts, which is what I think he wanted to do. There was a time when the artist on the R&B charts were doing just as good as the pop chart people.

    Also, I hate that people act like Usher is the only artist who makes strategic decision to try to get his music played. I hate to break it to you ALL artist have people doing the same research and doing the same calculation on what is hot and what s not. That is the reason so much of the music sounds the same.

    The album is hot and I personally think it will be one of those album that stays on the charts for a long time cause of it’s R&B leaning and people getting use to hearing someone actually sing. It will be a slow long burn and not a quick hit.

    • IG: code_rex2.0 September 17, 2016

      The album has a more trap leaning than RnB sound wise, so I don’t see how he plans on injecting new life to the struggling genre. Usher needs to stop jumping around and find himself

      • RihYonce September 17, 2016

        Trap is very popular though . Every R&B is on the trap wave . “I don’t mind” killed the radio and has 130 million views on YouTube . I think people love to hear urban usher including myself. At this point who cares about sales he’s sold over 100 million records he doesn’t have anything to prove these young guys could never reach the success he has. He’s been able to stay relevant in this industry for 20+ years because he’s always current

  7. J September 17, 2016

    Y’all need to fix the poll feature on here.

    Anywho I don’t like the cover and he should’ve released it around the time he had buzz from “New Flame” and “I Don’t Mind.” I’ve lost interest and “No Limit/Crash” aren’t good enough to spark my interest this time around. Especially after his last album…

    • B&B September 17, 2016

      @J just listen to “Tell Me” and “Missin U”…… Im not a fan of usher at all but these songs got me HOOKED!!!!!!!!!!! Maybe you’ll enjoy them too!!!

  8. Kai September 17, 2016

    Expected to do 20k
    That’s what happens when you sell your self out to the Carters

  9. RihYonce September 17, 2016

    Yes ! I bought my copy even though I had it on tidal Wednesday. I will always support him. He’s forever the reigning KING OF R&B not to mention this album is amazing I hope he promotes it

  10. MUSICHEAD September 17, 2016

    I bought it yesterday. Bump goes hard! Haven’t heard the whole album but I’m happy with what I’m hearing so far. I actually saw a commercial on tv for the album last night. I think that might help draw some attention.

    • IG: code_rex2.0 September 17, 2016

      Bump is my jam.

  11. kitteneyez September 17, 2016

    yes imma get it

  12. #Nicole Nation September 17, 2016

    No, I’m not.

    Only great song on the album is “Tell Me.” That song alone is better than anything I’ve heard in a while. In a perfect world, the whole album would be that good. But I already got my FREE copy of the album, iTunes quality and everything, no point in buying. I’ll save that money for Joe on November 11, Eric Benet on October 7, Nicole (if she ever puts out some music! lol.) and Marques Houston, probably sometime next year.

    Crash is okay, no limit is mediocre, rivals is aight, Hard II Love is solid, Stronger is pretty good, Bump is like a more upbeat version of Nicole’s “Bang” (which Dream and Tricky also wrote and produced), but this one is kind of boring and generic. Too repetitive. Champions is different, but it sort of sounds like JT’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling.” The rest of the songs aren’t really worth mentioning.

    • #Nicole Nation September 17, 2016

      Oh, and missin’ you. It’s weird. Not for me I guess. He tries to mix soul/r&b with that stupid trap crap. I hate that when these artists do that. If you want real r&b, listen to the new album from Dave Hollister, “the manuscript.” Such an underrated artist, somebody here should remember Blackstreet!

      • B&B September 17, 2016

        Yaaaaaasssssss Tell Me is on repeat for me! Havent heard nothing this good since Lemonade lol.

  13. #Nicole Nation September 17, 2016

    Okay Champions and hard II love are growing on me even more. Champions is much better and different than “can’t stop the feeling”, they just start the same but they’re really not alike at all.

  14. Sam September 17, 2016

    I found the whole album uninspiring and like his last few albums. Usher like Kelly Rowland hasn’t found a sound that really fits that they can utilise till the end. Fantasia is Younger than Usher and has an established sound that she intertwines with all the sounds that she uses.
    This Usher album could be out takes from all his albums after confessions. Its not the worst but it sounds

  15. s.a September 18, 2016

    I dont understand why people are complaining. This is a much stronger album than Looking 4 Myself. With Tell Me track usher again proves, he is the king of r&b slow jams. This album is great compared to what he was offering with so called ‘UR’ and ‘Flawed’ album tracks.

  16. JayJay1979 November 2, 2016

    This album was supposed to be (or so I heard and hoped) a return to proper R&B.
    This europop sh*t, whilst occasionally hitting the mark (Crash, Without You, DJ Got Us Falling In Love), is overdone now. I want some dirty R&B beats. Some amazing ballads. I just want Ush to make R&B music again.

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