"Versus" came at a strange time for Usher. The R&B singer was six albums strong in his discography and had not long put out "Raymond v. Raymond" when, randomly, he decided that an EP could be the way to keep his career running strong in 2010. Since copious amounts of Euro-House had put his long-standing following off his scent in the lead-up to it, promoting the tune primarily through more of the stuff wasn't really the way to do it. But since he had a Jay-Z-featuring tune and a round-up of "Raymond..."'s deluxe edition highlights lumped into it, it may just have had what they were looking to get from him and his ever-changing music.
The most recent transitional phase for R&B (2007-2011) was a difficult one to survive through, so it's obvious why "Lay You Down" sits on this EP, but highlights like "Stranger" make better use of his excellence when attacking slow jams. Other than it, Usher's got more of the seductive stuff, but it takes on a more upbeat feel (as you'll find on "Lingerie") and it still manages to convince his female listeners than he can talk them into bed. For this reason, it's a shame his work with Jay-Z doesn't go down as well here and is unstaged by a link with Bun B instead.
Annoying tunes like "DJ Got Us Falling in Love" prove that he's still out to rely on the trendy sounds of 2010. With a voice like his and such an adaptability, you'd expect far more from him, but the EP (in some places) comes across as a predictable body of work which is only meant to be functional and hasn't been made with as much purpose as some of his older, more solid releases. A project like this doesn't demand the same amount of attention, but it would be nice to know that he tried for the whole thing and not just parts of it.
Although he had gone down the deluxe edition route with "Raymond v. Raymond" record, having another lengthy release from Usher in such quick a time was a nice touch. "Versus" enables Usher to delve further down a route which he only glanced upon on the album and does so without showing that he's making a full departure from clubby instrumentals (which took over a sizable chunk of the album which preceded it). If anything, check out "Love 'Em All" and "Stranger" and you'll have a good enough impression of what he's coming with on this EP. It's more of a mini-album, but at nine songs in length, there was nothing stopping him from dropping it a year later and still satisfying his mass following.
Over the past few years we have since an increase in the release of deluxe editions of albums a few months after the standard version. On these "deluxe" or special edition albums you have extra tracks which almost make up a whole other album. Lady Gaga's "Fame Monster" was probably the most notable recent release before Usher chose to add this collection to his Raymond v Raymond album. This album is available as a double disc with the Raymond v Raymond album and also as a single disc of extra tracks.
Usher is well known to release extra tracks from the recording of his album, He has done so with Confessions, Here I Stand and now Raymond v Raymond. The difference here though is that this is available as one album this is an advantage if you already own the original album. A lot of his previous extra tracks have featured collaborations and that's no different on Versus with tracks featuring a wide range of artists. Justin Bieber, Jay-Z, Pitbull, Enrique Iglesias and Bun B all appear on Versus.
1.) Love Em All
This gets things off to a great start. It's a classic Usher club joint. The punchy beat works well with the myriad of hooks and Usher's voice is as strong as ever. This track is about when you are in club full of attractive women and not being able to decide between them and wanting them all. Nice problem hey. This track features some of the finest beats of any Usher song. Superb.
2.) DJ Got us fallin in love
This is the lead single from the album and features "Pitbull". It's a catchy electro pop/R&B track which has a thumping beat and some nice hooks. Another fine Club joint which is bound to be another hit for him for months to come. I haven't heard this yet in a Club but I'm sure I will soon enough as it's an excellent up tempo track which is bound to get people up on the dancefloor.
3.) Hot Tottie (feat. Jay-Z)
This is an excellent collaboration between the two. It has a particularly good progression and is another one I could see being a big hit in Clubs. Jay-Z's part is not until half way through the song but he adds a decent touch to this track about being attracted to someone else when you are in a relationship. I particularly like the breakdown before the rap from Jay-Z.
4.) Lay You Down
This is a fabulous ballad, It reminds me a little of Seduction on his bonus Confessions release thanks to the fabulous beat. This is a fantastic track which combines some great vocals from Usher with a fine musical backing with a great progression. This is one of the best tracks from either Versus or Raymond v Raymond. This is a superb example of Usher's artistry.
This is a funky joint which reminds me a little of Robin Thicke. Usher's vocals start off laid back and subtle. The beat is catchy and the hooks are very catchy too. This is an excellent track which soon shows off Usher's fantastic falsetto vocals. This is another track which progresses rather well.
6.) Get in My Car
This is another track which some great beats. This is about bringing someone back from the club to your place and getting down to business so to speak. The Music adds to the feel of the song and I feel this would be a great Club track too for obvious reasons. A decent collaboration with Bun B who I hadn't heard of before this track.
7.) Somebody to Love
This is a catchy electro-r&b track which features Justin Bieber, Don't let that sour things as this is a pretty decent track. Bieber actually puts in a competent performance, much better than I have heard from him. Overall this could be a little better but it's a decent track nonetheless. Some nice beats and hooks.
This tracks opens with a gentle electro hook and soon gets into a mid tempo beat on this interesting ballad about meeting someone who's just come out of a failed relationship and being ready to move on with someone else who has also come out of a relationship and doesn't feel ready to move into anything new yet. Usher shows off his fantastic vocals on this excellent track.
9.) Dirty Dancer
Another fantastic up tempo club track, This has more of an electro feel than the other club tracks. Enrique Iglesias appears on the track and does a decent job on vocals. Usher however is the clear winner on vocals. This is a very catchy track which is another potential club joint. An enjoyable track.
We end on another club track with Usher on his own this time. This gives the album with five sole Usher tracks and five collaborations. This is the official track for the 2010 NBA All Star Game and was a hugely popular track when it was played in the commercials and when he performed in Live as part of the All Star Game. Great up beat track.
When you evaluate an album like this you need to weigh up these tracks with what's on the original release and how they fare. This is an album that really stands up to the majority of his songs on Raymond V Raymond and if you have already got that album then get this one too. If you don't have Raymond v Raymond then get the Deluxe Edition which also features this collection on a second disc. This is an album that helps to further enhance Usher's reputation.
NOTE - I have also reviewed Usher's "Raymond v Raymond".
Usher is back again with a follow up to his latest album, Raymong v Raymond. The extended play album is called Versus and was released on the 24th August 2010.
It has recieved mainly positive reviews from music critics but Usher has come under some critisism towards its pop efforts and its fall in sales compared to previous album.
My verdict is that Usher is a great R&B artist, but he has so much more to offer than this extended play album contains. His past albums such as Confessions and Here I stand had tracks which were upbeat and fast-paced as well as slow jams which were lyrically fabulous. But I feel that this album doesnt have that to offer, which his previous work has. Maybe Usher is trying to fit in with the current trend and mainstream play of Dance and Electro music and although he is capable of pulling off this genre of music, he is much better suited to the style of his previous.
My favourite song from Versus is DJ Got Us Falling In Love because it is upbeat and makes you want to get up and dance. Hot Tottie is abother good track but other than that, there isnt all that much. Yes, it does have tracks featuring big names such as Jay-Z, Justin Bieber etc, but its Usher's unique music were looking for here and we dont really see it.
In conclusion, the album is good but is his weakest yet and I'd love to see more from the R&B superstar.
1. "Love 'Em All"
2. "DJ Got Us Fallin' in Love" feat. Pitbull
3. "Hot Toddy" feat. Jay-Z and Ciara
4. "Lay You Down"
6. "There Goes My Baby"
7. "Get in My Car " feat. Bun B
8. "Somebody to Love" (remix) feat. Justin Bieber
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Love Em All
2 DJ Got Us Fallin In Love (feat. Pitbull)
3 Hot Tottie (feat. Jay-Z)
4 Lay You Down
6 There Goes My Baby
7 Get In My Car (feat. Bun B)
8 Somebody To Love REMIX (feat. Justin Bieber)