Top 40 of 2016: #15

What to do about Usher Raymond IV, as he approaches his 40s and moves into his third decade as a recording artist? I hated just about all of his EDM-crossover singles of the decade, but damned if he wasn’t ahead of the curve with ’em, all of which were huge hits. Now, when it would be easy for him to keep churning out collabs with the likes of David Guetta, he stops and goes back to his roots; Hard II Love, a commercial flop on arrival after a drip-feed of singles over the past 2+ years, is pretty strictly R&B/hip-hop. But dude, you’re almost 40, quit with the would-be strip-club anthems. Stick with magic like this. “Missin U” is a top 10 hit at Adult R&B radio and precisely nowhere else, not even at Mainstream R&B, which no longer pays him any mind unless he’s got a hot rapper assisting him (his last three top 10s at the format have featured Rick Ross, Juicy J, and Young Thug), which is a damned shame. This features the most unexpected sample of the year, a chunk of Steely Dan’s “Third World Man” underpinning its chorus. It’s glorious. Credit producers Pop & Oak with that, but credit Usher himself for his perfect, sexy delivery, that ache that never quite leaves his voice. I can’t wait to see what his next 10 years bring.

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About thomasinskeep

I write about music.
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