Charting for the first time in 1993, Usher Raymond has been a constant force in pop and R&B music. The Atlanta superstar is an all around entertainer. With dancing, singing, song writing and producing, his talents have taken him across the world and now onto his second Las Vegas residency. Today, his NPR Tiny Desk concert premiered, reminding us of his countless hits over the last two decades. Here are some of our favorite Usher songs.
U Don’t Have To Call
The original get ready with me! Usher’s music is a masterclass in love, relationships, and dance. “U Don’t Have to Call” captures it all. The song and video chronicle the decision to go out and enjoy a night with your friends instead of sulking at home waiting for your significant other to call. It is the necessary pick me up when your relationship is at a confusing point of communication. Although Usher says his girl does not have to call, the song is an upbeat call to the dance floor.
Sometimes you have to dance away the hurt and “Caught Up” does just that. Usher sings about a girl that gives him a taste of his own medicine. Usually the girls would be fawning over him, but the roles have reversed, leaving Usher stuck and “losing control”.
Usher leans into role reversal with “Trading Places”. Abandoning gender roles, this song captures a night of trading places in the relationship. The one who is dominant is now submissive in the effort of spicing things up.
Confessions, Pt. II
We had to pick part 2 because we love the drama. After Usher prefaces the rest of the song with “Brace yourself it ain’t good, but it would be the worse if you heard this from somebody else”, we could all collectively assume chaos would ensue. “Confessions, Pt. II” is the worse case scenario after a partner is unfaithful.
“Climax” is a song about a relationship reaching its peak and making the decision to end it amicably. This is one of Usher’s most impressive vocal performances, sustaining falsetto and moving between his head and chest voice effortlessly. The performance was so impressive, it was the center of the viral singing challenge in 2020, prompting singers across the internet to attempt to hit the same notes.
“Tell me why I should stay in this relationship? When I’m hurtin’, baby, I ain’t happy, baby”
“Burn” falls under one of Usher’s best songs to play after a break up. His vocals are emotive and the lyrics highlight the physicality of heartbreak. The video sticks with the burning theme as his whole world literally burns, flames and all, after the loss of his love.
Yeah! Ft Lil Jon and Ludacris
Product of the Atlanta club scene, Usher tagged fellow ATL artists, Ludacris and Lil Jon for this dance floor record. The video showed the blue-lit club we all wanted to get into and even introduced us to a couple of dance moves at the end.
Love In This Club
Staying in the clubbing setting, Usher sings of falling in love and feeling the immediate need for intimacy on the dance floor. We hear Jeezy featured on this track and there is even a part 2 of the song featuring Houston’s own, Beyoncé.
Come Thru by Summer Walker
Technincally not an Usher song but, a modern homage to his 97’ hit “You Make Me Wanna”, ”Come Thru” is a testament to Usher’s impression on today’s artists. His feature on the song also proves his lasting power in R&B.
Off of his latest project, “A”, released with producer Zaytoven in 2018, Usher plays with the meaning of the peace sign. It could be his signature ‘A’ he throws up to represent his hometown, could be an actual peace sign, or a diagram of how he wants his lover’s legs. We hear the signature Zaytoven sound with the masterful use of the piano.