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23 - 29 June , 2012
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Looking 4 Myself
Usher
Usher Raymond IV found his niche early and stuck with it. He's one of those rare pop stars whose personality seems to mirror his musical output. Whether he's being a romantic sap or showing his way around an embarrassing chat-up line, he's not been one to jump onto musical trends; Usher's honesty is endearing, rather than a fad. Actually this is only true up until 2010 when, like most other vaguely susceptible pop stars, he succumbed to the advances of David Guetta, Will.I.Am and Pitbull. Looking 4 Myself sees him on a genre voyage retold by moments of musical discovery. But for all of this projected self-worth, these 18 tracks offer too many anonymous cuts. The album's lead track and gleaming star Climax is still out there on its own. Diplo displays rare sophistication and understatement in his treatment, never revealing a trick at once, instead giving the track plenty of time to develop. The song's exquisite rising harmonies, teasing miniature bass drops and lascivious claustrophobia feel brand new, while Usher's immaculately controlled falsetto has never sounded more enrapturing. The Salaam Remi-produced Sins Of My Father is outstanding. Twisted is also glorious: it's an unusual throwback to Stax on which Usher's personality still rings out loud. Ultimately, Looking 4 Myself reveals Usher as lost within the genre pick 'n' mix as he ever was; but in between its shortcomings, this seventh album sees him beaming proudly through a new and exciting sound.

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