Friday, November 20th, 2020

Usher – Bad Habits

Just when we thought he’d said all he could say…


Thomas Inskeep: Oh, Usher sounds so good when he’s being bad. “Bad Habits” is another entry in his catalog of “I can’t stop messin’ around but I love you” songs, and it’s superlative. From his silky vocal to the all-too-brief sample of Zapp’s “Computer Love” (the second single from male R&B stars this year to utilize it, after Ne-Yo and Jeremih’s “U 2 Luv”) to those perfectly tinny-sounding 808 accents, this has it all. And the way Usher sings it, you believe every word — or at least, I do.

Leonel Manzanares de la Rosa: A serviceable melody and a solid vocal from one of the all-time greats, but the prize goes to that prominent synth bass and the drum variations of the bridge, courtesy of Pierre Medor and Lxrd Rossi, who seem to be wearing their 80s hats tight. I’m not sure if I want to keep hearing about Usher’s struggles with commitment, though.

Jacob Sujin Kuppermann: This year, Usher has proven that he can still do it all — from smooth, retro R&B to EDM crossover. On “Bad Habits” he revisits a classic Usher songform: the “I fucked up romantically” admission that doubles as a dance track. Yet the spark is gone — Lxrd Rossi and Pierre Medor’s generically upbeat production doesn’t offer a counterpoint to Usher’s anguish so much as serve as wallpaper, and Usher sounds like he’s recorded this song too many times to really feel it anymore.

Juana Giaimo: In an age when so many artists are turning to R&B, Usher shows that he really knows the genre. The fast flow captures both intimacy and sensuality. The production doesn’t interfere a lot until the bridge, when suddenly the fun and kind of bouncy beat turns into more classic drums and Usher’s vocal melody changes completely, leading to a passionate final chorus.

Nortey Dowuona: The spirited synth grooves gather up every single cowbell hit, then drop it on the bass drum chart with the bass synths sliding up alongside them, Usher atop, smiling, sliding right down at your feet on his velvety voice. Then, the 80’s gated drum break happens, and Usher flies back up, hovering in front of the sun, as gorgeous as ever.

Alfred Soto: Lither than at any point since his heyday, Usher releases another solid 2020 single. Beatboxes and bass lines, messed-up love life and eloquent chronicler of it, he keeps his cool as singer and co-writer.

Wayne Weizhen Zhang: “Bad habits, don’t judge me,” Usher was saying just a couple months ago, without so much as a hint of regret. Turns out he was bottling up all of that judgment for an entire track. “Bad Habits” is a mini-drama of infidelity and self-loathing set to lyrics which hit a little too hard: “Every time I see my new girl, it’s the best/Then I get another text from my ex/On God, it’s like clockwork.” Hurt less Usher, but keep making music this hot. 

Reader average: No votes yet!

Vote: 0   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10

Leave a Reply