15 Songs, 57 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

The baby-faced casanova released his first two albums before turning 20; on 8701, he grows up. It’s impossibly slick from a distance, boasting freaky, futuristic soul produced by Jam & Lewis, Jermaine Dupri, and The Neptunes: brittle drums batter sparkling acoustic guitars, and rhythms move with a stiff, robotic shimmy. But beneath the glossy exterior and swaggering come-ons lies heartbreak. On chirpy almost-love song “U Remind Me,” Usher’s haunted by the ghost of an ex, and on the gentle “U Got It Bad,” you can feel his pain with every falsetto coo.

EDITORS’ NOTES

The baby-faced casanova released his first two albums before turning 20; on 8701, he grows up. It’s impossibly slick from a distance, boasting freaky, futuristic soul produced by Jam & Lewis, Jermaine Dupri, and The Neptunes: brittle drums batter sparkling acoustic guitars, and rhythms move with a stiff, robotic shimmy. But beneath the glossy exterior and swaggering come-ons lies heartbreak. On chirpy almost-love song “U Remind Me,” Usher’s haunted by the ghost of an ex, and on the gentle “U Got It Bad,” you can feel his pain with every falsetto coo.

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