15 Songs, 57 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

In the four years between My Way and 8701, Usher went from 18 to 24, and as he grew up so did the R&B landscape. With 8701 (named for the album’s release date, August 7th, 2001), the sober slow jams of Nineties give way to slick pop songs and sly club tracks. P. Diddy delivers the thumping “I Don’t Know,” while Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis provide the gliding, flirtatious “U Remind Me,” a song directly inspired by Usher’s smoother-than-smooth dance moves. Despite the uptempo atmosphere, a current of hurt and regret runs through 8701, and song after song — from “I Can’t Let You Go” to “You Don’t Have To Call” to “Can U Help Me”— finds the singer haunted by a figure of lost love. This theme culminates on “U Got It Bad,” a smoldering Jermaine Dupri production that could easily be the first great torch song of the 21st century. Bolstered by a newfound sense of maturity Usher used 8701 to make the crucial (too often fatal) transition from talented teen sensation to one of R&B’s leading men.

EDITORS’ NOTES

In the four years between My Way and 8701, Usher went from 18 to 24, and as he grew up so did the R&B landscape. With 8701 (named for the album’s release date, August 7th, 2001), the sober slow jams of Nineties give way to slick pop songs and sly club tracks. P. Diddy delivers the thumping “I Don’t Know,” while Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis provide the gliding, flirtatious “U Remind Me,” a song directly inspired by Usher’s smoother-than-smooth dance moves. Despite the uptempo atmosphere, a current of hurt and regret runs through 8701, and song after song — from “I Can’t Let You Go” to “You Don’t Have To Call” to “Can U Help Me”— finds the singer haunted by a figure of lost love. This theme culminates on “U Got It Bad,” a smoldering Jermaine Dupri production that could easily be the first great torch song of the 21st century. Bolstered by a newfound sense of maturity Usher used 8701 to make the crucial (too often fatal) transition from talented teen sensation to one of R&B’s leading men.

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