Usher on the red carpet of NRJ Music Award 2011

Usher on the red carpet of NRJ Music Award 2011 (Photo by Frederic Legrand - COMEO on Shutterstock)

Usher Raymond IV, known simply as Usher, is an American R&B icon and mainstay of hip-hop. Usher made his music debut as a teenager in 1994 with his self-titled album, but his breakthrough record, “My Way,” was released in 1997, causing him to rise to epic levels of stardom. With nearly 30 years of industry experience, Usher is undoubtedly a pop mega-star, having recorded eight studio albums with at least 80 hit singles. And now, he will be the halftime performer at Super Bowl 58. To prepare for an incredible performance, here’s StudyFinds’ list of the five best Usher songs of all time.

Born in Texas, Usher spent his formative years growing up in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Showing talent as well as an intense interest in professional singing, Usher moved to Atlanta for high school, where he began serious work on honing his abilities as a singer and performer. Usher allegedly had difficulty adjusting to his voice change with the onset of puberty, and this may have caused his early recording efforts to stall. Additionally, the tracks on the 1994 album “Usher” were sexually explicit, despite Usher being just 15 years old at the time of recording.

By the 2010s, Usher had firmly established himself as more than a hip-hop and R&B artist but as a pop icon, starting with a memorable halftime show with The Black Eyed Peas in 2011 at Super Bowl XLV in Arlington, Texas. Despite co-starring in a handful of feature films, television roles, and stage productions, Usher has found the most success as a singer. His accomplishments have made him a popular coach and celebrity judge on the NBC talent show “The Voice.” Usher has continued to make music and expand his music brand, leveraging his talent for great live shows. Usher’s Las Vegas residency at Park MGM earns him a reported $37 million annually and is proof that audiences line up for his fantastic concerts.

The best Usher songs of all time are some major league bangers that slap as hard today as they did when first unleashed. Our ten music experts helped us sort through nearly three decades of songs to rank his greatest hits. Let us know your favorite Usher songs in the comments below!

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Usher attended the 2nd Annual V103 Winterfest Concert in 2016
Usher attended the 2nd Annual V103 Winterfest Concert in 2016 (Photo by Jamie Lamor Thompson on Shutterstock)

The List: Best Usher Songs, According to Experts

1. “Yeah!” ft. Lil Jon and Ludacris (2004)

This seminal dance club song is still relevant today, nearly 20 years after its initial release. Anyone that has been at the club when this song comes on will attest that from the very first iconic bars, people rush to the dance floor. The iconic pop song unites Lil’ Jon and hip-hop legend Ludacris. “Yeah!” brings the energy, which helped lead it to the No. 2 overall ranking for Billboard’s most successful tracks of the decade. The jam also won the Grammy Award for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration.

You know what’s poppin’ off as soon as you hear “Peace up! A-Town down!” With Usher belting out the lead vocals, Ludacris dropping brilliant verses and Lil’ Jon just shouting “Yeah” as loud as he can, it instantly became one of the biggest songs of all-time. “Yeah!” spent 12 weeks at No. 1 and sold more than 4 millions copies.

Usher’s top song became a cultural phenomenon when it came out. Incorporating crunk and R&B, rightfully coined as “Crunk&B” by Lil’ Jon, “Yeah!,” the first single from the album “Confessions,” changed the game and made Usher a legend.

2. “Love in This Club” featuring Young Jeezy (2008)

“Love in This Club” is an absolute earworm of a song that is so good, it belies its own utterly absurd lyrical content. In this song, Usher somehow manages to present wildly inappropriate public conduct as a genuine prelude to romance. The track combines a unique hip-hop style with a moving chord progression.

As soon as “Love in This Club” comes on, your body instinctively starts to move, while singing along to every word. The track is a must-have for any party playlist and stands out as one of Usher’s indelible achievements.

We also can’t forget Young Jeezy’s presence on the song. Even though Usher’s vocals carry “Love in This Club,” Young Jeezy crushes his verse. It’s a song every Usher fan will love.

3. “Climax” (2012)

Usher’s music is sensual and highlights his signature countertenor voice and ability to hit high notes in a soft falsetto. His vocal intensity shines through in “Climax,” known as Usher’s career high-point song off his seventh album “Looking 4 Myself.” For this album, Usher collaborated with Will.i.am, David Guetta and Romeo Santos in hopes to put together tracks that would sell well outside the United States.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nNTyfVh3nmU&ab_channel=UsherVEVO

When “Climax” released in 2012, Usher admitted he needed a hit song at the time. He wanted to give his longtime fans a song they would connect with while delving for new listeners. He was able to satisfy both audiences with the track, which landed him a Grammy for Best R&B Performance.

“Climax” topped Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart for eleven weeks, giving Usher another hit song. “Climax” came at a time when Usher’s music was becoming more pop-friendly.

4. “My Way” (1997)

The music video for “My Way” is a celebration of dance that has admittedly not aged as well as the song itself. The music video depicts a dance battle between Usher, dressed as Alex DeLarge from “A Clockwork Orange,” and actor/singer Tyrese Gibson. Despite the music video, the song became an instant classic thanks to Usher’s vocals and captivating hook. “My Way” still resonates with fans today thanks to its feel-good rhythm and body-moving beat.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dthjojjVhDo&ab_channel=UsherVEVO

“My Way” is from Usher’s sophomore album with the same name. The track was a different treat for Usher as he started rapping more and showing off some attitude. And, if you were watching MTV constantly in 1997, not a day went by when you didn’t see the music video — when MTV was actually playing music videos.

The song and video helped shake his “Baby Usher” persona. The video was also shaky as Usher is seen bouncing around in an inflatable castle.

5. “You Make Me Wanna” (1997)

By all metrics, this is the song that kicked off Usher’s storybook career. As his first and most enduring hit, “You Make Me Wanna” tells a simple story of temptation. While others were ruling the charts in 1997, Usher became a breakout star thanks to “You Make Me Wanna,” making him the new prince of R&B.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQRzrnH6_HY&ab_channel=UsherVEVO

Jermaine Dupri’s iconic beat on “You Make Me Wanna” helped introduce Usher to the world. The music video became a staple on MTV, showcasing Usher’s stylistic dance moves. The next big thing in pop music was born.

The song was a career-defining moment for the R&B legend. “You Make Me Wanna” became a classic thanks to Usher’s vocals paired with the unique use of acoustic guitar and hi-hat.

Sources:

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About Alan Corona

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