Usher is back with some new music. It actually was a quiet release, meaning that there was not any fanfare or promotional blitz around the new album. Hard II Love was released on June 13th for Tidal music subscribers. Tidal music had exclusives on some albums, then they are released to the general public sometime after that exclusivity runs out.
With essentially two release dates, I think this hurts the album, because there is no anticipation for the upcoming release. The people who have exclusive rights to the music can enjoy it, but the rest of the fans have to wait 60 days or so. By then, the public in general may lose interest or forget about the upcoming release.
I say all of this because I had no clue that Usher’s album was released on September 16th. I just happened to look on my music source, and I saw it on the new release page. With an artist like Usher who is one of the top names in R&B, the promotion needs to build as the release date nears.
Hard II Love is the eighth studio album by the R&B veteran. This album shows that Usher is coming back to his R&B roots. Over the last few years, Usher had worked on projects that focused on the House and EDM genres. He worked with David Guetta, lending his vocals on Without You, and he was also a guest vocalist on Don’t Look Down by Martin Garrix. His last two studio albums, Climax and Looking 4 Myself, the singer offered some additional EDM tracks that included Scream, Numb, More and Euphoria.
Hard II Love does not have any EDM beats in sight, and the latest single, No Limit, is a prime example of that.
Here are some of the highlights:
The album starts out with Need U, where Usher brings back the soul in a big way. There are no drums in sight here, as it really sounds like an interlude. Make no mistake, this is a complete song with mighty fine harmonies for this non-traditional track.
The smooth R&B continues with Missin’ You. At first listen you will know this is a song that was meant to be experienced in a concert setting. Very nice slow jam that samples Third World Man by Steely Dan.
Overall we will give this a three out of four stars, as I would have liked to have a couple of mid-tempo grooves to round out the album.