Usher, what are you doing? Why isn't your best song to date - the brilliantly bonkers leaked single Dat Girl Right There - on your new album? Are you an idiot?
If you haven't heard it, Dat Girl Right There features woozy synths, crazy off-kilter rhythms and an inspired cameo by rapper Ludacris that renders T-Pain's trademark computerised vocals impotent.
It's Usher's best ever song, but it's not on his new album. Perhaps it was because it was leaked. Perhaps there wasn't room. Or perhaps it was just too strange.
Whatever the case, it would have helped add some heat to Here I Stand - an unfilfulling album packed full of Usher standards with only occasional flourishes of inspiration.
It proves R&B's biggest selling star is resting firmly on his laurels.
Here I Stand reaches its nadir early with the downright awful will.i.am duet What's Your Name, while This Ain't Sex finds Usher crooning, "We're not having sex, we're making moments that will outlast the world."
Yuck. Has Usher turned into Tom Jones?
Thankfully, marriage hasn't completely tamed him. On the single Love In The Club, Usher doesn't even bother taking the girl of his affections home before having his way with her.
Whew. That's a bit more like the Usher we know and love.
There's also the stunningly epic ballad Moving Mountains, while Jay-Z and Lil Wayne help break up some of those endless ballads and add some hip-hop cred later on in the 18-track affair.
But Usher is at his best when his songs are dripping in sex, and there are precious few of those moments here. It's just one song, but Dat Girl Right There would have made all the difference.
*Usher's Here I Stand is out on May 27 through SonyBMG.
*What do you think of Usher's new album? Post your comments below.
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