Album Reviews

Usher – A (Album Review)

Usher surprises his fan with “A” — an eight-track EP produced solely by Zaytoven!


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TOP 3

 

3. STAY HOME

“Stay Home” has a good tempo, a gentle feel, and a few snaps.

Usher gets “Stay Home” started with this brutally honest verse that has him warning his main chick about stepping out on him when he’s on the road. Midway through his verse, the Atlanta native realizes he’s the man and starts to brag and boast about how he’s living and why the chick he was once paranoid about should now worry about him being disloyal to her (That s**t 360’d quick, right?). In my opinion, Usher’s verse on the song is very disrespectful, but hey, at least the n***a is being real, right?

Future has the second verse on “Stay Home,” and on his part, he talks about having the means to spoil a chick if she acts right. The flow he raps with throughout the song is very choppy — a style that fits the bouncy Zaytoven-produced instrumental perfectly.

Usher, with your history, you don’t need to tell anybody to stay their ass at home… You are the same n***a that had to get Shyne out of jail to explain your cheating ways to your wife in the “Confessions” remix (SMH).

 

 

2. SHE AIN’T TELL YA

“She Ain’t Tell Ya” isn’t the sexiest choice for a top 3 list, but in my opinion, the song features a version of Usher I actually want to hear.

In “She Ain’t Tell Ya,” Usher talks about this old relationship he was in where he spoiled his chick with good sex, jewelry, and money. Production-wise, Zaytoven keeps things simple on the song, providing the ATL star with a gentle instrumental that practically plays second-fiddle to his deep lyrics and soulful vocal performance.

Is there anything better than a woman being ungrateful towards an R&B star? I feel like these ungrateful women are responsible for every bomb-ass slow jam you have in your iTunes library today.

 

 

1. BIRTHDAY

“Birthday” might be better than the official happy birthday song, bruh! (Yes, I am talking about Patty and Mildred Hill’s birthday song)

On “Birthday,” Usher practically bounces off of the beat’s padded walls from start to finish. Initially, his style of singing sounds a bit off, but as the song goes on, it falls in line with the colorful instrumental he is served with.

Content-wise, “Birthday” revolves around Usher pumping his woman up to be as loose as she can for her special day (S**t, I didn’t see that premise coming). His contributions are very enjoyable to listen to, and if you’re drunk, fun to sing-a-long to, too.

Why don’t they make birthday songs for the fellas? We have birthdays, too!


SONG BY SONG BREAKDOWN

1. STAY AT HOME (4/5)

2. ATA (4/5)

3. PEACE SIGN (4/5)

4. YOU DECIDE (4/5)

5. BIRTHDAY (4.5/5)

6. SHE AIN’T TELL YA (4.5/5)

7. SAY WHAT YOU WANT (3.5/5)

8. GIFT SHOP (3/5)


OVERALL RATING

(C)

 

Usher’s ‘IT’ factor hasn’t gone away. I feel like his vocals are still pretty impressive, and his knack for finding unique ways to talk about his love life continues to be top-notch. Though A is a very small sample size of his current artistry, I felt like it was enough to gauge his unattested love for pushing boundaries in the R&B game.

Do you know what I love about A? Usher dabbles in both some grown man and youthful throughout the EP. This tells me that he’s an ultimate student of the game that doesn’t mind tweaking his style up to fit the s**t you hear today. Does this approach bite him in the ass here and there on this EP? Absolutely, as there were times on it that I felt he dumbed-down his sound just a little too much (ie. “Gift Shop”). But for the most part, his content and vocal performances were strong enough to carry him to the finish line without any major bumps or bruises.

Zaytoven impressed me quite a bit with his production on this EP. I felt like his instrumentals allowed Usher to let loose. This may be the reason why we got a fiery/cringeworthingly honest version of the singer for a good chunk of the EP. (Fiery/Cringeworthingly honest Usher’ makes platinum records)

You didn’t get to hear a bunch of Usher songs on A, but what you may have gotten is a version of the singer that is once again motivated to prove to the world that his R&B crown isn’t quite ready to be snatched from his head.

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