THIS IS MY (SUMMER) JAM: Usher-U Got It Bad
by Meridith Carroll on June 4, 2013
Posted in: Pop, R&B / Soul, Uncategorized
Since I’ve been home from Midd, the one thing that I can rely on to happen, no matter what, between my sleeping in late, reading of Jonathan Franzen, eating at unusual times at night, and all of my other signs of general college summer ennui, is gathering with my entire family twice a week to watch The Voice. It’s been a long time since I’ve watched any competitive reality show, but the excitement that my seven-year old sister and nine-year old brother get when they talk about what a horrible coach Shakira is or just how funny the forty-year old (HE’S ONLY THIRTY SIX—HE LOOKS SO OLD) Blake Shelton can be, made me interested enough to roll out of bed and join the family. The show itself is alright; almost all of the contestants can belt insanely high notes in radio songs that are decent enough to be enjoyed. There’s a little too much country music for my taste, but family bonding is family bonding, and there are worse things that my family likes to watch (i.e. Duck Dynasty).
BUT the real, not-so-hidden gem of The Voice is USHER. Usher is always wearing snakeskin tank tops and making really funny comments about Carson Daily that I prefer to think are unscripted. Usher is always inspiring his contestants to perform bigger and better, even when he asks them sing into a mirror. Usher even brought Pharrell onto the show.
Seeing all of this Usher made me wonder, “is Usher was still relevent at all in the music world?” A quick glance on Spotify proved that he has had some recent hits, but it also shows that his song “U Got it Bad” is still one of his top-ten most played songs and, oh my god, there is a reason for that.
“U Got it Bad” is classic Usher pre-“Yeah” so there’s no dance-y bullshit and it’s all falsetto crooning, lovelorn belting, and “humping around.*” In other words, it is brilliant and it is absolutely perfect for driving during heady thunderstrorms thinking about the one you love, laying languidly in bed, dreaming about central air conditioning, thinking about the one you love etc. etc. etc.
That is why I propose “U Got it Bad” for my first summer jam of 2k13. I keep trying to convince my friends to play it at parties but nobody’s really been into it yet. My guess it that they haven’t seen this video yet so they don’t know what they’re missing. Usher is the perfect mix of nostalgia for music that I listened to at a young age but don’t have any emotional associations with and music that will get anyone’s bump and grind going in the here and now. Let’s all meet in a field under the stars on a hot summer night that’s dewy enough to make our skin feel new. Let’s bring piles of quilts, still smelling like cinnamon and the underground because of where we stored them in the basement. Let’s take out shoes off and sink out toes into the cool grass, let’s stay awake until our eyes sparkle, let’s close our eyes and smile as the night breeze whisks across our eyelashes and the moon shines brighter than the headlights of the cars passing by. Let’s all huddle together and, in a whisper, all at once, confess: We all love Usher and he makes us lose our shit on the dance floor more than anything, but his slow burns really “get us” even though they are “cheesy.” Let’s tell tales of love and the “flowers, cards and candy” that really indicate a higher truth. Let’s all hang up and then call right back. This summer, let’s all listen to Usher.