First Hit #1: May 15, 2010
Usher is a multi-talented musician who is unable to redeem a thoroughly dull will.i.am composition. Oh he tries, he puts in a good performance, he even manages to hide the vocal processing somewhat by simply being too good for it – there’s some indication that it’s there, mostly in the opening lines, but his performance just doesn’t allow the pitch correction to do anything drastic. But, no matter what he does, he can’t change the fact that it’s another terrible, lazy will.i.am beat, and when the perpetrator comes on with his own, largely terrible vocal it cements the deal – Usher is too good for this song, will.i.am is too big a commercial force so it happened anyway.
It’s not a completely bad idea. As much as I reject it, text speak isn’t going anywhere so the title is in the zeitgeist at least. A beat built around crowd sounds could be great if it was handled by someone who was willing to do more than the most basic version of it possible, and Usher is really one of the better pop singers out there. Unfortunately, it turns out that will.i.am’s legacy of lazy crap can’t be overcome.