Just watch Usher’s latest video for “More”:
For more than a decade, Usher was the standard bearer. His five album run of nearly flawless albums is practically peerless.
But then came Raymond vs. Raymond, a nakedly commercial and depressingly desperate album with almost no redeeming qualities at all. And Usher, like Michael Jackson before him, has taken up the mantle of aging artist pathetically hanging onto pop relevance instead of continuing to be the great artist he has always been.
Everything about this video is sad, starting and ending with a grown ass man with a trendy gay teen haircut.
“OMG” and “More” are the kinds of songs that a lot of people around the world like, but they are not Usher songs. They exist to top the charts and then be forgotten in a year. Anyone can perform these songs. A vocalist of Usher’s prodigious gifts? Wasted.
At this point in his career, Usher should be so aware of his public identity and his artistry that nothing could shake it. It is a sad, sad thing to watch an artist of Usher’s abilities get shook by life after 30 and the rise of an artist as inconsequential and musically threadbare as Chris Brown. They can’t take your title, you relinquish it.