The Bottom Line
After reminding us all of how compelling he can be with slow burn R&B on "Climax," Usher joins forces with producer Max Martin for a return to the pop dance floor. Unfortunately, there is little here that is distinctive. It will get you moving and singing along, but the record is ultimately forgettable.
- Solid, danceable beat
- Usher's smooth vocals
- Indistinguishable from other ordinary dance pop
- Sounds like Max Martin producing on auto-pilot
- Written by Max Martin, Shellback, Savan Kotecha, and Usher Raymond
- Produced by Max Martin and Shellback
- Released April 2012 by RCA
Guide Review - Usher - "Scream"
Clearly Usher doesn't want to lose his momentum with the pop dance fans who bought "DJ Got Us Fallin' In Love" and the David Guetta collaboration "Without You." Unfortunately, he didn't see a need to stretch boundaries or attempt something new to accomplish that feat. Usher joins forces with producer Max Martin, his collaborator on "DJ Got Us Fallin' In Love," once again. Unfortunately, this sounds like the record Max Martin and professional partner Shellback could churn out in their sleep. The opening sounds like an outtake from Katy Perry's Teenage Dream sessions and the most memorable element of the body of the song is Usher's repeated "Ooh baby baby, ooh baby baby."
On the plus side for the record, Usher remains one of the most talented R&B vocalists in the business. His voice is worth hearing on even the most mundane of songs as it glides across the words. It is also easy to listen to the song and imagine Usher performing it live with a squad of impeccably choreographed dancers. "Scream" deserves an extra 1/2 star in evaluation simply due to the talent of Usher as a performer.
It is feeling like dance pop is starting to hit a rut. Perhaps it is time to give way to a new trend in mainstream pop music and allow dance music to make its periodic return to the underground for revitalization. Now, with two singles from the upcoming Usher album Looking 4 Myself it looks like a mixed bag. "Climax" is thrilling and exciting R&B, while "Scream" is rather ordinary and dull dance pop. Which one of himself will Usher find? The album makes its appearance June 12, 2012.