Album Review


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Usher: Versus
Usher
Versus

OMG @ this EP, srsly. Usher's tacit would-be tell-all Raymond v. Raymond spoke softly but wielded a big stick, and has emerged as one of the few albums this year to manage a pretty decent tally of moves on SoundScan. (Of course, that could indicate that Usher's party boat has inevitably sailed up a port or two, demographically speaking. With Lady Antebellum and Sade near the head of this year's list, it could just be that Usher's appeal lies strongest with the cougar set.)

Naturally, the reward for robust sales in the realm of physical media is—you guessed it—a special edition disc intended to garnish those numbers. The cherry on top for those duped into flexing their wallets in the name of democracy and maybe usurping Justin "Pygmalion" Bieber (fat chance) is Versus, a 40-minute, nine-song EP culling what I have to assume are the best outtakes and tunes unused when Raymond v. Raymond was being compiled. The songs are folded into the deluxe edition, but are also available cut-rate on a separate disc for those who don't want to buy the same album a second time. Of course, the only people I could imagine getting any pleasure whatsoever from Versus's wretched collection of failed club-sex jams are those with enough bad taste to buy Raymond v. Raymond three or four times over. And I say that as someone who would actually kick it once or twice with "OMG," the daddy disc's requisite Black Eyed Peas castaway.

Really, the less said about these nine songs the better. (Well, seven songs actually, since Versus peculiarly ports over the dribbly "There Goes My Baby" from Raymond v. Raymond and outright snatches the synthetically ebullient "Somebody to Love" back from Eve Harrington Justin Bieber.) The selection is so dire that the songs that make no impression are the highlights. "Lingerie" is a fuzzed-out funker with hints of latter-day Michael Jackson burning in the aftertaste, courtesy of producers Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis. And "DJ Got Us Fallin' In Love" is, while indistinguishable from any other overdriving club banger, one of the only songs in which Usher Raymond acknowledges an aphrodisiac more powerful than his own ab musk.

Otherwise, he spends the rest of the EP claiming his turf as the godfather of sex. In "Get in My Car," he repeatedly muses, "With one more drink, we're ready to cut/You're tuggin' my front, I'm squeezing your butt." And in "Love 'Em All," he inadvertently reveals one potential theory for what pitted Raymond versus Raymond: He's just too gosh-darned nice to not spread his love all through this club. With chivalrous magnanimity, he doubles up—no make that triples up—on the females so he can get through them all before the night is through. What a humanitarian.

Label: LaFace Release date: August 24, 2010

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