Usher has been in the headlines so much lately for his personal struggles that we almost forgot he was still promoting an album: After the tragic death of his stepson and the messy ongoing custody battle with his ex-wife Tameka Foster, we can hardly blame him for wanting to check out of reality. That’s the idea behind his latest single “Numb,” a Swedish House Mafia-produced club banger about anesthetizing discomfort and pain, or something. (The lyrics aren’t particularly specific.)
The video for “Numb,” which premiered late last night (October 11), intercuts shots of Usher dealing with various real and fictional tragedies — it opens with him canceling his show in Berlin, which actually happened, then leads into Usher sitting beside a woman in a hospital bed — with footage of him dancing in a glass box, like a mime. Unsurprisingly, his dancing is nothing short of extraordinary, but perhaps he could have dug a little deeper to tap into some of that very real personal pain to bring something more emotionally charged to this video; as it stands, it’s a little too polished to feel anything but contrived. Watch the clip above.