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Could Usher ‘Be’ ‘Cruisin’ To Some More Hits?

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The Usher leaks are coming fast and furious, with two popping up online this week alone. Here we have "Be" and "Cruisin'," which may or may not show up on Monster, his next disc slated to drop some time later this year. Of the two tracks, "Be" is the stronger one with its inspirational lyrics complimented by Usher's voice, which is consistently good. I suspect that the midtempo jaunt "Cruisin'" was something that was lying around collecting dust, recorded while he was still "happily" married because he proclaims "I got a wife" toward the end. Talk about a knee-slapper. Although not bad songs, both are more album filler than single material. Nevertheless, if the material that does appear on Monster is as enjoyable as these two tracks, then Usher may be back on track. 

Usher: "Be"

Usher: "Cruisin'"


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8 Responses

  1. Avatar

    Obviously these are songs left over from the last albums sessions or completed early on. Both are quite nice and both are I pod worthy for sure. One thing I really appreciate about Usher is that he’s one of the few “Pop” acts that can truly sing. He has range, tight harmonies, he knows how to layer his voice, and can belt when needed. Plus he’s not “pitch corrected out”. Its there, but he’s so close to the actual pitch that you don’t “hear” the algorithm working. He’s been doing it for so long that it seems like he’s part of the old guard. He’s worked with everyone from Devante Swing, Babyface, Jam and Lewis etc. I wish him much success on the new project.

  2. These two are definitely tight. More a fan of "Cruisin", but they are both exceptional. "Be" is definitely the more single-ready...and next level.
    Though if I were him there would be no shame in my game...that last 5 seconds of "Cruisin" can be wiped. I do like the fact that he scaling back with the concepts ad scaling up with vocal level-of-difficulty. His harmonies sound like mostly him layering, putting in that time in the studio. I'd be interested who got the production credit on these. Doesn't he do a lot of his own formulation now?

  3. Mutada, not disputing your "pitch correction" theories or ear, (you may be the first to mention this...but I'm sure not the last) but how in the hell...or shall I say what exactly does it sound like when the "algorithm" is "working"?
    I'm familiar with and sure that this is a dirty little secret of sound engineers and artist that they can just pull up their Pro Tools HD or an LE system, Melodyne Uno and clean up that note(s).
    But really...Usher? Have we isolated the note diminished E flat?
    Just curious.

  4. Avatar

    @ Manamongst Hussein
    You hear the algorithm working when you hear the note bending unnaturally. Basically if a singer is a few cents off from the target pitch as in very close. (Usher) The algorithm does not need to snap the note as far or as fast to correct it. Its sounds “natural” to the untrained ear or average music consumer
    You get into trouble when the note is way off. The singer was too lazy to do another take, or the note was completely wrong to begin with and the producer decides to change it after the fact. The pitch correction algorithm then has to move or “correct” the note a large distance and that always sounds synthetic. (T-Pain like).
    You hear this lot on songs by Rhiana, (Everything she has ever done) Trey Songs (Everything he has ever done), Keri Hilson (Knocks you down, Energy, etc), Mary J Blidge (Most of her stuff after 2001) The Dream (Everything he’s ever done), Drake (All of his singing parts) Ciara (Everything she’s ever done and will ever do) etc.
    What’s sad is that a lot of the notes do not need to be corrected. The algorithms really only do well correcting vocals that are sung “strait” were the singer is holding the note. But when you correct “runs”, the voice becomes wobbly and shaky and sounds synthetic.
    Also, the human voice, no matter how good the singer is (Brian McKnight, Take 6, Maxwell etc), will always have some variation of pitch. That’s what makes us sound human! Pitch correction strips away the subtleties in pitch and makes a human voice sound like a tone. At 1:24 on “Cruisin”, when he sings “out of CONTROL” that’s and example. Its “correct” but sounds unnatural.

  5. I copped this a few days ago and been in love with "be" ever since...i like his tone and when he hits the falsetto I just love it!

  6. "Be" just made my day. I can't recall hearing Usher use so much of his range! I hope this signals a turning point in his career.

  7. @Manamongst Hussein
    I completely agree with your explanation of pitch correction on vocals. Case in point should be the new Whitney Houston material - all the tracks we've heard so far exhibit the unnatural artefacts of pitch correction...
    However I can hear no evidence of its application on Usher's lead vocasl - he being one of the few acts out who can actually sing and reproduce the results live.... Keyshia Cole anyone?
    lol

  8. I love how everyone keeps selling that "Here I Stand was shitty" line. It wasn't. He didn't fall off. He just got married.



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