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Album Review: Usher – Coming Home

2 min read
"Coming Home succeeds in embracing modern elements while still being an album Usher’s fan base will find hard not to love.".. Our review of the brand new LP from Usher

Latest release from Usher Coming Home is the artist’s ninth studio album, released two days before his Super Bowl LVIII halftime show. The album features most of the producers and writers he’s collaborated with in the past 20 years. Highly anticipated, Coming Home is the artist’s first solo release in eight years.

Initial tracks Coming Home and Ruin are both produced by Pheelz and feature Afrobeat flavours. Coming Home combines infectious beats with floaty vocals and a well-executed feature from Burna Boy. Ruin has a soothing, steady bop with gorgeous lyrical flows from Usher and producer Pheelz.

Good Good is a sexy track that shares similarities with earlier works such as Confessions. We hear Usher’s feelings towards an ex: ‘We ain’t good good, but we still good.’ The tracks storytelling elements work well and the grown up twist feels relatable. A-Town Girl samples Billy Joel’s Uptown Girl — a lighthearted and fun addition with an upbeat sense of nostalgia. The feature from artist Latto, however, is lacklustre.

Cold Blooded, written by The Dream and produced by Pharrell Williams, is one of the albums more experimental tracks. The seductive, slow burner is an ode to a love gone wrong. Usher laments over a murky baseline: And you supposed to be a friend of mine / Yet you turned cold at the drop of a dime. Ushers message lacks a bit of punch and the production feels underwhelming, even sketchy at times. The lyrics in Kissing Strangers are more interesting. The song builds into an energetic chorus: How we go from strangers kissing to kissing strangers?/ From feeling every high there is to just feeling anxious? Its a memorable moment that leaves you wanting more.

Usher pours his heart out in the subtle, but slinky track Bop. The artist delivers a clever pre-chorus with signature soul: Girl, I miss you like Jodeci/ Girl, I miss you like Pac, oh / Girl, I miss you like Aaliyah / Come back and make this song stop. We then hear a breathy, sultry chorus: ‘Don’t let this turn in to a bop’

BIG is a love-it-or-hate it track the carries forward the spirit of Michael Jackson. I enjoyed the skittish, playful energy but the reference to going large at McDonalds will be a touch too far for many. In Please U we hear the warmth and richness of the artists voice as he stretches out over soundscapes. Ushers vocals remain near flawless — in Please U we’re reminded of the artist’s status as one of the best singers of his generation.

While Coming Home is clearly a ride of reminiscence — with previous producers and writers coming back together – it’s also the artist’s most experimental album to date. Is it perfect? No. The lyrical content, for example, lacks impact. Despite this, Coming Home succeeds in embracing modern elements while still being an album Usher’s fan base will find hard not to love.