Interesting few lines from the New Yorker's Sasha Frere-Jones, in a review of Usher's new album:
"If Usher is considered part of soul and R. & B., he is a quiet revolutionary, stripping out the pain audible in the work of so many great male soul singers: Otis Redding, Michael Jackson, Luther Vandross, R. Kelly. Catharsis has no place in Usher’s work, no matter the topic. The blood is all offstage, and Usher plays our Greek chorus, moralizing and reporting. It’s an easier gig than having to do the wet work. (R. & B. after “Confessions” has continued in this denatured, slight vein, from the cyborg come-ons of Ciara to Chris Brown’s Usher-lite routine.)"
You can read the full review here.