Usher has been making moves as of late, out there in the streets promoting his upcoming album Hard II Love, which is slated to drop on September 16. It’s the crooner’s first release since 2012’s Looking for Myself. He’s also in the new boxing movie Hands of Stone, playing legendary boxer Sugar Ray Leonard opposite Robert De Niro. But this isn’t about that. This is about Usher making music again and specifically, out their promoting said music and the joys and wonder that come with it.
Backed by an eight-piece band and backup singers, Usher appeared on BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge, where he played a five song set. The set included the single “Crash” and a reggae update of “Love in This Club,” off of his 2008 album Here I Stand. A highlight, though, was the unexpected cover of a song of the summer contender, “Don’t Let Me Down” by the Chainsmokers. Usher and his crew injected the radio hit with some heavy doses of life and soul, giving a new spin and vibe to it. The band treats the song like a diving board, using it to catapult into a more complete, much more fleshed-out version of the tune.
The original was in the mix for Song of the Summer of 2016 for a reason, but Usher’s version is nothing to sleep on.