written by Carla Bynum
On September 13th, his eighth studio album Hard II Love was released exclusively through the streaming service Tidal. It was released elsewhere on September 16th. The album was supported by the singles “No Limit,” “Crash,” “Rivals,” and “Missin U.”
“Missin U”- Usher loves a woman with confidence and everything about her mesmerizes him from her walk to her lips. He misses her and wants to kiss her.
There’s “No Limit” to what Usher will do for his woman to make sure she is always satisfied. The song pays homage to hip-hop veteran Master P and his label No Limit Records. The song features a verse from Young Thug. The song serves as the album’s first official single and was released on June 9th.
The song “Bump” was released on September 6th and features sample vocals from Lil Jon’s “I Wanna Rock.” The song was produced by The-Dream and Tricky Stewart.
On the track “Let Me,” Usher lets his lady know how he feels about her and he wants to be the one to love her unconditionally as long as she lets him.
Usher isn’t one to judge and he makes that known on the track “Downtime.” Even though the lady he is seeing has a man and feels bad about her relationship with Usher, he lets her know that what they do is between them and nobody has to know.
“Crash” is the album’s second single and has more of a pop feel than the rest of the album. Usher reflects on a past relationship on the catchy song.
Whenever a song starts with Future’s line “If Young Metro don't trust you I'm gon' shoot ya,” it’s guaranteed to be a banger. Usher wants to prove his skills to the lady in his life on the song “Make U A Believer.”
Usher takes us into the “Mind of a Man” as he owns up to his wrongdoings in his relationship. He also addresses double standards and how he would be ready to leave if his girl did the same to him. He isn’t trying to justify his behavior but he wanted to tell her the truth.
Although he has his faults and downfalls, he doesn’t want his lady to give up on him on the song “FWM.”
The song “Rivals” featuring Future was originally released via Tidal on August 30th. Usher professes his love for his lady and lets her know that he never wants them to be rivals because he wants every day to be their love season.
Usher sets up the scene perfectly for a love making session with his woman on the song “Tell Me.” It’s a stormy night and the thunder is roaring but all he can focus on is his lady. The more of her that he gets, the more he wants.
Usher admits that he is “Hard II Love” and trust on the album’s title track. He has his flaws and loving him is like gambling. The song is soft and simple and a standout on the album.
Usher reminisces on all the ups and downs he’s faced over the years and how he felt following the passing of his former stepson Kile Glover in 2012. All the down and outs he’s had to face over the years have only made him “Stronger” than ever.
“Champions” is the final song on the album and was also featured as a part of the movie Hands Of Stone in which Usher played the legendary boxer Sugar Ray Leonard. The song features Panamanian singer, songwriter, musician, actor, and activist Rubén Blades.
Usher is one of few artists who has been able to maintain relevancy over the past 20 years. He has the ability to take on various musical trends and make them his own. Perhaps that is one of the reasons he has had such longevity in the music game. He showcases that again on his eighth studio album, Hard II Love. He combines his smooth vocals with a little bit of trap music effortlessly.
Recommended Tracks: “Tell Me,” “Let Me,” “Downtime,” “Rivals,” “Hard II Love”