In Defense Of... Usher's "Climax"

In the past couple years, Usher went through a few personal crises, which caused a musical mid-life crisis for the artist. Usher's top singles since 2010 were overloaded dance floor tunes like "DJ Got Us Fallin' in Love" and "More."

This phase of Usher's career resembled the excesses and lost dignity of post-divorce bachelorhood. Party tracks were out of character for an artist who based his career on smooth, passionate R&B. To his credit, Usher started to taper off a bit with David Guetta's "Without You."

I've also had problems with "Climax" producer Diplo's past tracks, like "Look at Me Now," Chris Brown's desperate cry for attention, and Beyoncé's "Run The World (Girls)," a rehash of Dip's own Major Lazer track, "Pon De Floor." Likewise, Diplo's ambitious musical ventures had a role in making dynamic genres like baile funk and dubstep sound uninspired and predictable.

The game has changed with Usher's latest single, "Climax." Diplo managed to tone down his overloaded party synths and let Usher's voice beam in the second verse's crescendo and falsetto-based hooks. "Climax" is Usher's decisive rebound to smooth, slow jams. With the recent wave of future R&B, Usher picked the right moment to (re)arrive.

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Shahryar Rizvi
Contact: Shahryar Rizvi

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