It's official: Usher
has regained his mojo. After struggling with lower than expected sales and fan disappointment with his more mature 2008 album, Here I Stand
, Usher made a strong comeback with his March 2010 album, Raymond v. Raymond
. But even though that album spawned five hit singles, Usher didn't rest on his laurels. On Aug. 24, 2010 - just five months after Raymond v. Raymond
hit record stores - Usher has dropped a nine-song EP of mostly-new music called Versus
. And fortunately, Versus
isn't just a collection of remixes, outdated material or mediocre songs that weren't hot enough for Raymond v. Raymond
High Energy, Fast Paced
There are three songs that are head and shoulders above the other tracks on Usher
EP, one of them being is "Hot Tottie," a rock-solid tour de force featuring Usher vocalizing how smooth he is, singing: "I'm like oooh kemo sabe, your body is my hobby, we freakin' this ain't cheatin' as long as we tell nobody, tell your girls you leavin' - I'll meet you in the lobby - I'm so 'cold' that I need a hot tottie." And Jay-Z's lyrics continue to add to his legend as one of the greatest rappers in music history. The only disappointment on the song is singer Ester Dean, whose vocals sound too similar to Rihanna's stylistically. (Note: a version of the song featuring Ciara was reportedly recorded, but did not end up on the final EP.)
Also among the album's best material is the high energy, fast paced track "Get in My Car," a hypersexual jam. Getting divorced has freed Usher to go back to making sexier, more suggestive music, as evidenced by "Get in My Car" when he sings lyrics like "One more drink and we're ready to cut, you tuggin' my front, I'm squeezin' your butt," and "Is that your girl lookin' at me? Be clear, where ya'll wanna be, me on you, her on me." If not for the too-long, densely-packed rap in the middle of the song by Houston rapper Bun B., "Get in My Car" would be perfect.
A Solid Package
© LaFace/Jive Records.
The third exemplary song on Versus
is the first single, "DJ Got Us Fallin' in Love
, featuring the rapper Pitbull. The song is an electronic/dance track that covers an old topic - going clubbing on a Friday night - but Usher's ode is fresh, fun, infectious and of course, highly danceable. The only flaw is that Pitbull's 30-second cameo appearance is too short and his lyrics, although clever, don't match the song's theme at all.
For the more romantic types out there, there's also a handful of slower, more sensual songs on Versus, the best of which might be the piano-laced "Lay You Down," on which Usher sings "This ain't bump 'n grind, I'll show you what love is if you let me lay you down." Also making a reappearance on Versus is the ballad "There Goes My Baby," which was originally on Raymond v. Raymond and may have been thrown on here simply to help counterbalance all the dance music. The other previously released track on the EP is the official remix of "Somebody to Love," a hit song by Usher's protege, Justin Bieber. But if you don't have Bieber fever, you'll probably be unimpressed with the remix as well, despite Usher's newly-added vocals.
The bottom line is that if you're an Usher fan, this album's worth adding to your collection; nine songs - seven of them new - clocking in at 38 minutes is a good deal for this solid package of music.