Review Roundup: Usher – ‘Looking 4 Myself’

Looking 4 Myself

Usher was only 19 when he released his breakout single “You Make Me Wanna…” Now 15 years, seven Grammys, and two kids later, the R&B superstar reinvents himself with his seventh album Looking 4 Myself. The project combines elements of R&B, pop, dance, hip-hop, and electro, with production from diverse hitmakers including Diplo, Pharrell, Salaam Remi, Rico Love, Max Martin, and more. Did Usher’s risks pay off? Find out below.

Entertainment Weekly: When he reins himself in and lets the producers experiment, he’s getting something better than just another loverman hit. He’s always been popular, but now he sounds cool. B

USA Today: Coming on the heels of 2010’s Grammy-winning Raymond v. Raymond, Usher could have just milked that momentum. Instead, he’s chosen to keep growing and moving ahead. 3.5/4

The Guardian: Looking 4 Myself is bloated and self-conscious, but when it hits the spot it’s a feast of detailed, brilliantly gleaming R&B. Usher’s vocals are in fine fettle—his falsetto lends his tortured paramour poses a degree of depth, while “Lessons for the Lover” finds him harmonising with himself to astounding effect. 4/5

The Associated Press: The entertaining Looking 4 Myself is his best attempt at making magical music following Here I Stand and Raymond v. Raymond, lackluster albums saved by a few sterling songs.

Rolling Stone: If there’s anyone in music who doesn’t have an identity crisis, it’s Usher Raymond; the theme here, such as it is, is his own versatility. Club rave-ups, hip-hop ballads, synth pop, blaxploitation funk, a Max Martin song, a Will.i.am jam that borrows from “Uptown Girl”—all here. 3.5/5

Rap-Up’s Favorite Tracks: “Climax,” “Lemme See,” “Twisted,” “Sins of My Father”

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64 Comments

  1. Concerned fan

    Good reviews too bad that the album is going to flop because of her GF/Manager Grace Miguel. It’s not even #1 on itunes. I’m so tired of Usher letting US down for cougars.

    [Reply]

    LAURYN Reply:

    @Concerned fan,

    PREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEACH!!!

    [Reply]

    SdotB Reply:

    @Concerned fan, calm down, the album just came out today…why does it need to be #1 on itunes??

    [Reply]

    Concerned fan Reply:

    @SdotB, Rvr and Versus went #1 on the release date. It’s the breaking point, I’ve finally accepted that the pre-tameka Usher won’t come back. I’m tired of being a fan of someone who has no respect for his fans/stans. He should take some notes from Chris Brown, because when he will be down, and if he is managed by his GF it will happen any time soon, nobody will be there for him anymore. We are tired of him, of his GF controlling his carreer, of seeing him flopping when he has more talent than anybody else.

    [Reply]

    JamesDean Reply:

    @Concerned fan, CO-SIGN! Usher has had his day. Listened to the album and its not as good as his hold work.

    [Reply]

    cmon Reply:

    @SdotB, …………… BECAUSE IT JUST CAME OUT.

    [Reply]

    Jen Reply:

    @Concerned fan,

    Vote recorded. Thank you.

    Like This Comment Dislike This Comment -1
    Real talk

    June 20, 2012 at 7:07 am

    Having #1 album is more important than how much it sold.
    I would rather have it sell 34k & debut #1 than selling 300k and debuting #2
    Good job Usher!!!

    [Reply]

    Ginou

    June 20, 2012 at 11:38 am

    We always here riding hard for Usher he does not respect his fans at all

    I blame Usher New management Team Grace Miguel ! Cause Usher has what it takes to sale more!!! She is old and has no clue how to manage an artist ! she made him fired mostly his old team came in with Coup D’etat witch means (overthrow) in French Did not do a good job at all !

    Congrats Usher your personal life again! cost you money STOP DATING YOUR EMPLOYEES!

    [Reply]

    Jen Reply:

    @Concerned fan, you are 1000000% correct

    [Reply]

  2. RoyalTprod

    I loved how he blended diff genres and made unique music

    [Reply]

  3. YMCMB_#1STUNNA

    sales are gettin worse every album

    [Reply]

    SdotB Reply:

    @YMCMB_#1STUNNA, that’s the same for MANY artists…people aren’t buying albums anymore…with iTunes they have the option to buy singles only, and that’s where artists make their money…

    btw, give it some time…the album just now came out today…i’m sure it’ll be #1 by the end of the week

    [Reply]

    Kyle Reply:

    @YMCMB_#1STUNNA, it’s more about the quality! Don’t forget, this isn’t 2002…it’s 2012 and people aren’t buying full albums.

    [Reply]

    JamesDean Reply:

    @YMCMB_#1STUNNA, I Gauranted you that Chris Brown will have better first week sales even though his singles are not chart topping as Usher’s. CB has generated DIE-HARD obsessive fans that will buy his albums. Yes sales have dropped but if you can keep your fans happy they will come through for you. Usher has failed to do that! His fan base have changed. He has become like Rihanna…Singles artist. No real core fan base…hence the generic music.

    [Reply]

    tgod Reply:

    @JamesDean, u dont make no sense

    [Reply]

    Concerned fan Reply:

    @JamesDean, agree CB has a bigger fanbase because he is more respectful to his fans. It hurted my feelings as an Usher when someone told me what he was saying about some of his fans on twitter. He is so cocky, he can’t afford to be cocky when you are 7 millions followers away from CB or Bruno Mars. This album will flop and noone will care because his team, his GF are a bunch of douches who are now failing.
    JB and CB are saling like hot cakes because their fans are the one promoting their music, not a fucking PR guy. Usher can’t even tweet himself. Karma is a bitch Usher.

    [Reply]

    JamesDean Reply:

    @Concerned fan, Co-sign! You are right about that, definitely.

    [Reply]

    GEE Reply:

    @Concerned fan, you do know FAME still isnt platinum and released over a year ago.with over 250,000 the first week, that album came to a slow crawl real ast.

    [Reply]

    RockaFella Reply:

    @JamesDean, This year around Chris’ chart singles have been chart topping.

    [Reply]

    mattkisseih Reply:

    @RockaFella, What Turn up the Music is that it….. Sweet love was like 89 on the billboard and till i die is around there dream on

    [Reply]

    RockaFella Reply:

    @mattkisseih, He just won a Billboard Award because he was most charted. Chris was the only one to get a top ten this round. Idk how many songs Usher released as a single but none of them hit top ten. At least one of Chris’ did. Strip hit top twenty. Just to remind you. So my statement still stands. Rethink yours.

    [Reply]

    MarkyMark Reply:

    @RockaFella, HAhahaha! You killed it. Good point!

  4. Jordan Gabriel

    I’m sorry I used to love the Usher of the My Way era, 8701 era, Confessions era, Here I Stand era… But now… it’s just a commercial effort as opposed to something really ‘Usher’. I just don’t feel his vibe anymore, the live aspect is bad, the electro songs are bad, the R&B tracks are just not good enough… There’s no real concept. I dunno man I just think he’s done he should focus on his personal life now and just put out stuff that makes sense. He’s rich enough now, no point trying to make more money. I wonder why sometimes people can’t justbe satisfied with what they’ve got.

    [Reply]

    Concerned fan Reply:

    @Jordan Gabriel, LIES LIES this album is the shit, but because of a poor management its going to flop.

    [Reply]

    JamesDean Reply:

    @Concerned fan, How old are you? 13yrs old?

    Please go listen to Usher’s 8701 and Confessions album and tell me this new release can compare to the brilliance of those albums.
    I’ll wait!

    [Reply]

    King Size Reply:

    @JamesDean, I’m glad u bought up 8701 because if u really listen to this album and stop complaining abou the dance cuts. This is like a more up to date and mature version. 8701 had alot of uptempo records on there. And I swear u Ppl overrate confessions

    [Reply]

    tgod Reply:

    @Jordan Gabriel, wow get a life usher is doin fine and there millions out who luv his songs and I personally luv this album. I think u were never a fan just pretending.

    [Reply]

  5. Hessopoetic

    no mention of his debut album Usher which was released in 1994… it had some good songs

    [Reply]

  6. Kyle

    I am going to buy this later today. I streamed it on Itunes last week and was pleasantly surprised. He has definitely evolved and shows growth more on this album than he did on his last two. I enjoyed “Raymond Vs. Raymond” but he played it too safe and some of the songs were corny IMO.

    [Reply]

  7. Ice

    Usher is a hit and miss artist with me. His singles are always good, but sometimes his albums don’t contain the right tracks to make me want to purchase it. I bought Raymond v. Raymond and was ecstatic about this album after hearing the first 3 singles. But songs like “Can’t Stop Won’t Stop”, “Numb”, “Show Me”, “2nd Round” and “Hot Thing” were so bad that they hinder the flow of an otherwise great album.

    [Reply]

  8. Miles

    Why do people care how much the cd sells. if you like the album, just like the album. if u don’t like the album, just don’t like like. Why do sales even matter. the only people that should care about the sales is Usher, and his label

    [Reply]

    Blake Reply:

    @Miles, you comment makes so much sense

    [Reply]

    STFU I'm Famous Reply:

    @Blake, I agree with you lol

    [Reply]

  9. Mr. Alexanda

    I ain’t gay, but damn he is fine as hell!!! I would do… sssshhhh… oh yes, another good album to me! Ha ha!

    [Reply]

  10. ALLENJ173

    ALL YALL TALKING SHIT NEED TO SHURT THE FUCK UP THE ALBUM IS AMAZING JUST BECAUSE CAUSE HE NOT GOING BACK TO THE 2004 USHER DOSENT MEAN HE DISRESPECTING HIS FAN HE IS A ARTIST JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELEESE NOT IF IT WAS LADY GAGA YALL WOULD SAY THE ALBUM IS AMAZING BUT YALL ARE JUST HATTING SHUT UP AND AND LET USHER DO HIM AND THE ALBUM JUST COME OUT DAMN

    [Reply]

    Jake Reply:

    @ALLENJ173, You obviously don’t know the definition of “criticism.”

    [Reply]

    tgod Reply:

    @Jake, u are a hater

    [Reply]

    Jake Reply:

    @tgod, Another idiot who doesn’t know the definition of criticism.

    [Reply]

  11. Triniti

    The AP’s critique is probably the most genuine. I’m not opposed to a pop song every now and then, but it’s all gotten to be a bit much. “Climax” is one of my favorite songs of the year, but I’m not too sure about the others I’ve heard yet.

    [Reply]

  12. 619productions

    i’ll admit i was concerned with usher and his direction in his career at this time, that being said this album is amazing usher wanted to reinvent himself and def. did. the fusion of the dubstep/electro elements fit perfectly its much more evolved and i love it. now getting past the beats i’ll say this with each album usher’s lyrical content is growing deeper and def resonates with the audiences emotions. Great album usher

    [Reply]

  13. Kenyon Green

    I will not be buying this album!

    [Reply]

    tgod Reply:

    @Kenyon Green, oh please buy it with what?? U got no money

    [Reply]

    Kenyon Green Reply:

    @tgod, Your lame as Usher! Stevie Wonder can see this dude fail off.

    [Reply]

  14. True Story

    I Miss a Duett with Beyoncé Knowles!!!

    [Reply]

  15. True Story

    Beyonce Duett?

    I Miss a Duett with Beyoncé Knowles!!!

    [Reply]

  16. SMH at your life

    The reviews from actual COSUMERS on twitter and facebook either say it’s ok or it just sucks. I’m really not seeing that much success for this album.

    [Reply]

    King Size Reply:

    @SMH at your life, U mean the illegal downloaders and bandwagon fans. If this was a Chris brown or Trey songz album they would love it

    [Reply]

    1-800-SlapThatDELUSION Reply:

    @King Size, Of course if it was Chris Brown because he’s been messing with these genres since he was signed. Usher wasn’t. That’s why everyone’s mad. People are entitled to their own opinions.

    [Reply]

  17. Lamar

    I can’t get over how horrible the album cover looks. The album is just okay. Definitely a step down from his last albums. I only like a handful of tracks.

    [Reply]

  18. UdontNeedToKnow

    to be fooled. The album is efffin WACK!!! The only song that saved the day is “climax”

    [Reply]

  19. King Size

    Personally I think this is one of his best but the close-minded and fair-weather fans won’t give it a chance as soon as they hear a dance beat. I think this album shows growth, artistry and he touched on some stuff he never did before. I give it a 4/5. There’s a reason most o the critics are prasing this album

    [Reply]

  20. Blake

    i love it from start to finish he found a way to in corporate other genre’s with R&b and they way he sings he made it fit for him.To the point where the “pop” songs don’t sound so pop because he sings them like they’re straight R and b songs,its that balance i liked

    [Reply]

  21. Hugh

    Gonna check it out

    [Reply]

  22. GSTAR

    @concern fan: if you are a fan and got tired of usher, then why why bother commenting here. Usher new album is wayyyyy better than CB’s fortune! Period. R&B? chris? seriously? same hosss, cars, money? that’s r&b? thats generic music !!! i love chris but with all the music he’s putting out right now. STILL the same BS> so sit.

    [Reply]

    1-800-SlapThatDELUSION Reply:

    @GSTAR, Chris Brown is a POP and R&B (also messing around with HIP-HOP) artist. He’s ALWAYS have. Usher was strictly R&B but now he’s trying to go pop for sales. Usher’s pop music has NOTHING on Chris Brown’s. Usher hasn’t gave us that Confessions album after that Confessions album. Chris gives everything and he’s good at it (meaning his R&B, Pop, and Hip-Hop music has been on point; that sentence before explained Usher). Usher is good at R&B. Pop? Not so much. If this album was better than Fortune (that album that hasn’t been released yet) it should’ve been no.1 on iTunes the day of release. All I’m saying. Fortune will surprise others like you. Swallow the constructive criticism and keep it pushing. K? K.

    [Reply]

    MarkyMark Reply:

    @1-800-SlapThatDELUSION, Co-Sign!!!

    [Reply]

    Whatcha_Sayin Reply:

    @1-800-SlapThatDELUSION, How has Chris Brown always been an r&b/pop artist? Just because he made uptempo music, he’s suddenly always been a pop artist?

    Have you listened to Chris’ first 2 albums and then listened to his two recent albums and tell me they are all the same genre because they arent. Chris changed too!

    End of the day, I bought L4M and I love it. If you were a fan you’d buy it regardless and not pick holes in it based on iTunes samples or whatever

    [Reply]

  23. GSTAR

    @all: It’s 2012 for God’s sake! usher won’t be making songs thats have been done at the past. like Raymond v raymond, he served us a contemporary r$b album. with this and with the title implies…. he manage to create new sound. if you don’t like it. simply dont buy it. u can listen to cb all u want. lol this album is a grower on me.

    [Reply]

  24. TheDreamer

    I think this album will have to grow on me. There are a few songs I liked, Dive was one of the standouts. Others were a big no-no and just ruined the feel of the album. I understand and hear that he is trying to experiment though.

    [Reply]

  25. boemhard

    I got the album and have to say it’s amazing. Not really feeling the dance songs, but the rest is amazing :)
    Dive and Show Me are my favs

    [Reply]

  26. Max

    Definitely his best album since Confessions. People really need to stop being so conservative. Usher can easily repeat what he had done before but what’s the point of it? He’s the real artist and he always in search of refreshing his sound and always takes risk to be misunderstood by his fans.

    He really put some innovative tricks on few songs from his last effort. Climax, I Care 4 U, Dive, Sins Of My Father, Looking 4 Myself, Euphoria, I.F.U. are 100% standouts.

    Just stop being so Confessions people. Just get over it. One day Usher will make old fashioned record for us but now he wants to be a creator and he’s doing well.

    [Reply]

  27. davyd69

    The album is very good and I prefer that the most part is r&b

    [Reply]

  28. davyd69

    The album is good and I prefer the R&b part

    [Reply]

  29. Jay

    I’m really impressed with Usher’s new album! It’s one of his best albums to date I think. There are a lot of stand out tracks. :)

    [Reply]

  30. ITAINTYOBABY

    I’ve been a fan of Usher since Think Of You, and he hasn’t lost his fan some people do listen to different genres of music, and while these foolish people keep yapping Climax is no.1 on the R&B charts and i’m sure Lemme See will follow

    [Reply]

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