Usher

Live

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Usher broke big in 1997 with his second record, My Way, and there was no looking back. After it rocketed up the charts, Usher capitalized on his good looks and sweet charms, attempting to break into movies and pushing his celebrity status. All of which meant, of course, that there was little time for him to concentrate on a sequel to My Way. Nevertheless, in pop music it's imperative to stay in the public eye, so Live was released a year and a half after My Way. Live albums often feel like a way to buy time while an artist figures out what to do, and there's no question that Usher's entry is part of that time-honored tradition, since there's no real reason for him to release a live album as his third record. And Live does feel like filler, since the only real evidence of his charismatic performances are the continual shrieks from the teenage audience. As a matter of fact, he sounds tired and weary on many tracks, even his signature tunes "You Make Me Wanna" and "My Way." Hardcore fans will find his Bobby Brown medley of interest, since it doesn't appear on either studio record, but the live performances here all fall flat. The remixes that are tacked on to the end are better, especially Jermaine Dupri's reworking of "My Way," but they don't necessarily improve an unnecessary album.

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