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Usher’s ‘Twisted’ Is Almost What We Were ‘Looking 4’


When we at SBHQ heard Usher was working on a new album entitled Looking 4 Myself, we vacillated between not giving a damn and fervently hoping he'd check the
boxes in his garage marked Confessions and 8701. Hinting at a trend toward the latter, he's reteamed with 8701 collaborator Pharrell for
the just-leaked track "Twisted." It's a blend of synths and live instrumentation -- two of The Neptunes' three areas of expertise -- yet it manages to underwhelm on both. It aims for the old-school Rock-n-Roll tradition of mushmouth vocals, shouted exhortations at a juke-joint audience, and filthy double-entendres ("So I gave her that white Chanel lipstick / She said 'How you get more out?' / Twist it."), but is too tempered to really capture the genre's raucous spirit.
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Lyrically, it's medoicre (as we've come to expect from Ursh 4.0), but musically, it's catchy enough. Its main flaw is that it's missing a real percussive punch even at what's meant to be its most climactic moments, making it sound more like a polished demo than an album-ready cut. Ironically, when the song finally gets the percussive boost it needs (on the "Touch It"-flavored breakdowns), every other element goes silent, making you wonder what might have been.

In the end, what you get is a decent offering that's neither as exuberant as Alicia Keys' Pharrell-remixed "How Come You Don't Call Me," nor as slickly synthy as the classic Usher/Pharrell collab "You Don't Have To Call." It's by no means a threat for party record of the summer, but we'll take this over "Scream" anytime.


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