I can't imagine it makes Mr. Raymond IV very happy, but Auto-Tune may have saved his career. It's not as though he were about to disappear off the pop music map or anything, but when you've already sold 40-some million albums, any album that doesn't dominate your genre's landscape isn't just an aberration. It's actually a harbinger of the decline that will most likely end with an appearance in VH1's Where Are They Now? The first two singles from Raymond vs. Raymond, released earlier this year, weren't great successes. (Can you name them? Probably not.) So, when "OMG" — featuring the worst person in the world, Will.i.am — was released as a single, critics rolled their eyes at the use of Auto-Tune and the overall Euro/tight-shiny-shirt douchiness of the track. But audiences here (and not surprisingly, Europe) went crazy for it. After all, the song has a nice beat and you can dance to it. After that, the next single was the remarkably similar "DJ Got Us Fallin' in Love." So, apparently, this is what Usher's doing from now on: big, glossy dance hits, performed as though he has a Michael Jackson fetish. Enjoy the show.
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