It isn’t quite summer without Usher, is it? The R&B superstar hit #1 in 2010 with his club-thumping “OMG” and got the sunny season sizzling in 2011 with his Top 10 single “DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love”. Unfortunately, neither of those hits were considered big enough to be the official Song Of The Summer of their respective years, but does the 33-year-old artist have it in him to finally score a SOTS with “Scream”?
Throughout the week, we’ve highlighted Carly Rae Jepsen‘s undeniably catchy “Call Me Maybe”, Katy Perry‘s introspective “Wide Awake”, Justin Bieber‘s electro-feel-good “All Around The World”, and Maroon 5‘s sunny “Payphone”, all could-be’s in the running for 2012′s Song Of The Summer. But can Usher’s latest call to the dancefloor surpass the other contenders to be the smash you’ll be screaming along to all summer long? Let’s find out!
The song debuted in April 2012 as the second single off Usher’s seventh studio album, Looking 4 Myself. It was written by Max Martin, Shellback, Savan Kotecha, and Usher, and it was produced by Martin and Shellback, the same team who scored Usher his #1 hit “DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love”.
“Me and Max Martin, we’ve had success together in the past, and this was a record I felt represented the other side of the [album],” Usher told MTV of the song. “‘Scream’ is really like the next step. It’s just in time for summer and the type of experience that I want people to get out of the album.”
The track followed the subtle, chilled-out tune “Climax”, and it’s pretty much the opposite in every way — “Scream” is a four-on-the-floor electro-pop anthem, featuring Usher’s mind in the gutter as he stalks through the club, letting all the hotties know he can make them scream when he inevitably takes them home. You could criticize it by saying this generic Ibiza-inspired tune is well-worn material for the artist and offers nothing new, or praise it by saying it’s Usher doing what he does best. You’d be right either way.
As the first upbeat single off Looking 4 Myself, Usher made sure to really push “Scream” to the public — he performed it at the 2012 Billboard Music Awards, brought it to Saturday Night Live, and filmed a thrilling music video for the song with the help of Argentinian Broadway show, Fuerza Bruta.
Despite all his promotion, the single peaked in the 10th spot on the Hot 100, and holds the same position on the current iTunes chart. That may seem like nothing to scoff at, but this is “Ursher, baby” — the man has nine chart-topping singles to his name. It almost feels like a disappointment when a seemingly surefire banger from Usher like “Scream” only manages to make a dent in the Top 10. That said, we’ve got several more weeks of summer left, and plenty more nights to get the refrain of “ooh, baby baby / ooh, baby, baby” stuck in our heads.