Usher LEAD

I’m sure at this point I don’t have to introduce Usher. The artist has been at the top of the R&B scene since the late ’90s, selling over 43 million copies worldwide and picking up seven Grammy Awards along the way. The real news is that the vocalist, dancer, actor, and all-around entertainer is set to release his 7th studio album, Looking for Myself, on June 12.

Curious if Usher can follow up his Raymond vs. Raymond success of 2010? The music video for Looking for Myself‘s lead single, “Climax,” received over one million views in just a matter of days. Now with over 5.8 million views and still a month from the album’s release, one can assume Usher’s fan-base and music lovers everywhere are eagerly anticipating his latest installment.

If the views are any indication of how the overall album will be received, the critical acclaim for the single is merely icing on the cake. Top review platforms such as Rolling Stone, which gave “Climax” a four-star rating, The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, and Entertainment Weekly have all praised Mr. Raymond for doing what he does best: telling the story of love and loss through soul, sensuality, and of course, killer beats.

The video is loosely plot-driven, an appropriate approach to a song about a relationship apparently at the point of no return, or its climax, so to speak. The seemingly simple video doesn’t include a wide array of shots and scenes; rather it is a dark introspection with just a handful of dimly lit settings.

And what would an Usher song be without a possible love triangle? There seems to be a hint at another male character in the video, although the man’s ambiguity and quick shot presence could suggest a manifestation of Usher’s own inner struggles with his romance “going nowhere fast.” DJ/producer Diplo worked on the soulful trance track with Usher, and the result has since been acknowledged as a refreshingly new style for both artists.

Looking for Myself is currently undergoing final touches and will include collaborations with such artists as Rico Love, Salaam Remi, Jim Jonsin, and of course Diplo. For more information on the album and artist, click here.