Usher suffers growing pains



On his latest album, Raymond v. Raymond, R&B singer Usher tries to woo listeners with songs about the anguish and depression of divorce. Despite the promising setup, Usher only manages to make his listeners equally anguished and depressed.

Usher’s divorce should have provided him with the motivation to branch out and explore new ways to express himself in music.

Instead, the album sticks to a familiar blueprint that leaves the listener wanting more. Almost all of the songs suffer from the same exact problem: For each one, there are three earlier Usher songs that sound exactly the same.

The two most enjoyable songs, “Lil Freak” and “Guilty,” are only good because they feature verses by guests Nicki Minaj and T.I.

Now that’s not to say that Raymond v. Raymond is a terrible album; more of the same can be a good thing. There aren’t any songs that sound bad. The music is great, Usher’s vocals sound perfect and the lyrics are sincere. The dance songs make you want to dance, and the sad songs make you feel sad.

Raymond v. Raymond does everything an R&B album should, but somehow the album still comes up lacking and leaves listeners wanting more.