A Return To Form! Stream Usher’s ‘A’ In Full

The concept of a surprise album is still very much alive and well in 2018. The Carters (as in power couple Beyonce and Jay-Z, you’ve probably heard of them) proved just that with the release of Everything Is Love this summer. But they aren’t alone in the trend. Yesterday Usher made waves with the announcement that he had a new project on the way. Here’s the kicker – it was dropping in less than a day. Titled A, it is his first body of work since 2016’s Hard II Love, and it arrived today (October 12). Created in collaboration with Zaytoven (they worked together on 2010’s chart-topping Raymond V. Raymond), the 8-track collection is a return to form for the hitmaker.

A tribute to Atlanta, the duo’s hometown, A features collaborations with Future on “Stay At Home” and Gunna on “Gift Shop.” We already had an idea of what to expect from the release since Usher generously uploaded teasers from each track to Instagram. Now that we can hear it in full, it is clear just how cohesive it is. “Stay At Home” opens things up with a smooth production and the “Yeah” icon’s velvety vocals. As expected, “You Decide” is a clear highlight as he pleads with a former lover for a second chance. “Give me another chance to be your man, be your man, no,” the 39-year-old pleads. “I promise I won’t let you hurt again, hurt again, no.”

“Say What U Want” is equally compelling and follows a similar theme. “Say what you want, but don’t say it’s over (You can). Call me out my name, just don’t say you over me,” he croons. His vocals are particularly strong over the silky R&B production. Meanwhile, “Birthday” is an absolute earworm. “Do your dance it’s your birthday. Move that ass it’s your birthday. Spend this cash for your birthday. Blow that bag for your birthday,” he chants over the simmering beats. “It’s what you want for your birthday.”

“Gift Shop” closes things out with another sing-along moment. My biggest complaint is Zaytoven’s sign-on for each track, which gets a little grating by the third song (the sensual “Peace Sign”). But with the right push it is clear that Usher has a handful of solid hits on A. Hopefully he rolls out a video or two because I am very ready to see him in action in 2018. In the meantime, stream the collection below and pick a favorite song!

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