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Usher “COMING HOME” Album Review

COMING HOME

Eight years after his last solo release, “Hard II Love,” Usher’s ninth studio album, “COMING HOME,” is released in time for his Sunday Super Bowl halftime show. It happens at a moment when we are discussing whether or not our favorite artists from way back can survive in the future-shock streaming era that has homogenized and stratified the music industry, and whether they should become legacy acts.

To his credit, Usher is aware of his personal strengths. And on this project, pared-back mid-tempo rhythms, specifically designed for his upcoming live show serenades, complement his real-time restoration to the top showman. “COMING HOME” is mostly balladic in form and taste, with sweet love notes, fluffed-up innuendo, and harmless one-liners interspersed throughout.

Additionally, the album is rarely characterized by hopelessness and nihilism. Usher is the smooth spokesperson of the art of romance and wooing, which is its lifeblood.

Album Cover Art

Usher &Quot;Coming Home&Quot; Album Review, Yours Truly, Reviews, June 23, 2024

For his new album cover, Usher shows off his lubed-up back and tattoos displayed on one hand, which he holds up to cradle the back of his head. In contrast, the other hand brandishes a fruit (an Apple or Peach) held over the the iced-out chains around his neck.

Tracks and Features

The album begins with the title track, which features Burna Boy on a rendition of the King of Pop’s “The Way You Make Me Feel.” A lot of the record is characterized by ritualistic tendencies, which are set in motion by the post-disco shimmer. Despite the fact that Usher could be in a relationship in real life, “Coming Home” is a dreamlike fantasy in which anything is acceptable. By deciphering the jargon and graphic tiny details of modern dating, sign compatibility, and love languages, he leans into his primary position as a romancer.

With its internet-derived idioms, the minimalist “Bop” serves as a clever homage to and advancement for an artist whose profession has been exposing his emotions. Usher exposes his flaws as well. Consistent with this theme, “Stone Kold Freak” is a similarly upbeat song featuring one of his finest songwriters, Rico Love, who never lets you down.

Moving on, D’Mile was involved in the curation of three tracks on the album, including the guitar-driven head-knocker “Room in a Room,” which deals with finding a place to let things out of your chest, and the funk-driven The-Dream and Tricky-assisted “I Love U,” one of the album’s strongest tracks. “One of Them Ones,” which was co-produced and received written assistance from Damon Thomas, the Underdog, marks a transition from passing acquaintances to realizing a deep, soul-stirring relationship with someone.

Pheelz, another Nigerian musician, makes an appearance on the album in “Ruin,” which he also produced alongside the album’s title track. This one is a breakup ballad with a slow-wine rhythmic momentum of amapiano, which has captivated the mainstream in recent years. The song is a post-relationship longing wrapped as melancholic afro-fusion. Usher describes this song as one of the most sensitive and emotional in his repertoire, as he sings about his young daughter.

“Don’t Waste My Time,” featuring British vocalist Ella Mai, is a throwback to the golden age of R&B. Vedo co-wrote the song, which reunites him with Jermaine Dupri and Bryan Michael-Cox; it pays homage to the ’90s, which many consider to be the genre’s zenith. It’s a feel-good song that’s been popular at social events, reminding us of Usher’s ability to produce timeless music.

“SexBeat,” on the other hand, is a duet with Ludacris and Lil Jon, reuniting the group behind the 2004 singles “Lovers & Friends” and “Yeah!” This single is sultry and sophisticated, demonstrating Usher’s flexibility as a performer.

The Michael Jackson-inspired remix of “Standing Next to You,” which features BTS’s Jung Kook from his debut album GOLDEN, caps off the project. It combines pop and R&B components into another song that highlights the unique vocal powers and artistic approaches of both performers.

Thanks to Johntá Austin’s songwriting skills, Usher’s contribution in the second verse adds a level of sophistication and depth that fits with the song’s idea of cosmic, destiny love. Although it feels out of place and sounds like an encore tune, his slick voice enhances Jung Kook’s and adds to the texture of the song.

Album Theme

Despite diving into issues such as infidelity, he handles it with maturity and skill, which distinguishes him. While other singers may face criticism for covering comparable issues, Usher’s delivery emanates honesty, making his music more tasteful and real.

Tracklist

# Title Artist(s) Duration
1 Coming Home USHER & Burna Boy 3:16
2 Good Good USHER, Summer Walker & 21 Savage 4:08
3 A-Town Girl (feat. Latto) USHER 3:33
4 Cold Blooded USHER & The-Dream 3:17
5 Kissing Strangers USHER 3:09
6 Keep On Dancin’ USHER 3:12
7 Risk It All (From the Original Motion Picture “The Color Purple”) USHER & H.E.R. 3:22
8 Bop USHER 3:43
9 Stone Kold Freak USHER 3:35
10 Ruin USHER & Pheelz 3:02
11 BIG USHER 3:28
12 On The Side USHER 3:04
13 I Am The Party USHER 3:40
14 I Love U USHER 3:18
15 Please U USHER 2:59
16 Luckiest Man USHER 3:22
17 Margiela USHER 3:45
18 Room In A Room USHER 2:18
19 One Of Them Ones USHER 3:14
20 Standing Next to You (USHER Remix) Jung Kook & USHER 3:35

Production Credits

Producers on the new album include: B.A.M., Bryan-Michael Cox, busbee, Cirkut, Damon Thomas, D’Mile, Ghost Kid, H.E.R., Hit-Boy, James “JLack” Lackey, JerkPoP, Jermaine Dupri, Johntá Austin, Keith Thomas, Mel & Mus, Pharrell Williams, Pheelz, Phenom, Rico Love, Ryan Daly, The-Dream, Tricky Stewart, USHER, Vaughn Oliver & watt.

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