There’s a reason why USHER’s legions of fans call him the King of R&B: He’s been making hits for 30 years, since his self-titled debut album arrived in 1994; achieved diamond certification for his fourth album, Confessions; hosted a long-running Vegas residency; and landed the 2024 Apple Music Super Bowl LVIII Halftime Show. USHER’s accomplishments, creative and otherwise, should be enough to allow him to rest on his laurels, but instead, in the lead-up to that halftime show performance, he enters his next era with COMING HOME. USHER’s ninth album is a return to his roots and a celebration of his legacy. It’s also his first project as an independent artist, and it reunites him with longtime collaborator L.A. Reid, who signed him at 14. (COMING HOME also features frequent collaborators Johnta Austin, Jermaine Dupri, and Bryan-Michael Cox.) “I’ve been coming home in a lot of different ways,” USHER tells Apple Music. “The choice of music and reconnection to some of the people I’ve worked with from my past and always wanted to work with; writers I’ve actually made hit No. 1 records with. In a sense, I’m coming home because I’m in that comfortable space.” The album, he says, “is a love letter to the experience that I have as a man. It’s filled with romance.” Across 20 tracks, USHER narrates vignettes of love, lust, love lost, and everything in between. On the opening title track—which also features Nigerian singer-songwriter Burna Boy—he longs to return home to his lover after being on tour. He teams up with Summer Walker and 21 Savage on “Good Good,” in which the trio deals with an amicable breakup. “‘Good Good’ is not necessarily the most positive, but it is not bad,” USHER explains. “It’s not toxic. It's still a romantic song in the sense that we ain’t got to be enemies. That’s still a romantic way to have a conversation.” But on the tender ballad “Risk It All,” H.E.R. details a romantic journey between two lovers putting it on the line in the name of love. USHER then gets vulnerable on “Room in a Room” as he reflects on the hardships of growing apart within a relationship. It's all delivered with dreamy, intoxicating vocals set against bedroom pop, with beats ranging from bouncy (“Kissing Strangers,” “Keep on Dancin’”) to trap (“Cold Blooded”) to Afrobeats (“Ruin”) to new jack swing (“I Love U,” “Please U”). “Love is so central. It’s the source of it all, man,” USHER says. “Love is the thing that makes your heart beat, the thing that moves your spirit. Love is at the center of all things. The love of money, the love of life, and the love of partnership, love of even just a moment, love of connection.”

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