Apr 282010
Authors: Ian Mahan

He’s skinny, he can dance and he has the pipes that most singers could only dream of having. No, not Justin Bieber, though the artist in reference is responsible for his success.

Usher is still busy making music of his own and pushing the R&B genre to its limits.

On his latest studio album, “Raymond v Raymond,” Usher shows exactly why he is relevant enough to start signing artists of his own. The album comes full circle and is mountains above “Confessions” and his most recent album, “Here I Stand.”

The first notable track on the album, “Hey Daddy (Daddy’s Home)” featuring Plies, is exactly the kind of song that made people fall in love with Usher in the first place. It’s catchy, it’s danceable and it’s just a little dirty.

“I just wanna get your attention/ I really wanna be all up in your head” are the opening lyrics of the track, and Usher doesn’t really have to try that hard to grab attention with the rest of the song.

“She Don’t Know,” featuring Ludacris, showcases Usher’s ear for unique and fantastic ways to compile songs with a heavy brass section on the track. And, once again, the song is catchy, even with a signature stamp from Ludacris in one of his well-timed breakdowns that helped make “Yeah” so memorable.

Granted there is a heavy contribution from guest artists on the album, including the tracks “OMG,” featuring will.i.am, and “Guilty,” featuring T.I., Usher hasn’t lost the ability to stand alone in his songs.

“More,” the final track on the album, is a perfect example. The song features a head banging techno club beat that seems to be a late addition to the styles Usher does extremely well. The track actually leaves listeners wanting more of this album.

Whether Justin Bieber is a music industry one-hit wonder who won’t sing past puberty or a golden egg that hasn’t hatched yet, Usher’s legacy isn’t just in the artists he molds. His legacy is in his own music that never seems to lose its touch no matter how long it takes to create.

Music reviewer Ian Mahan can be reached at verve@collegian.com.

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