Cat Cohen's Anatomy of a Hit a Hit in 2004

Burn by Usher

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Usher confesses truly from the heart and soul about the conflict of his emotions in one of his tortured love relationships.

Song: Burn
Artist: Usher
Album: Confessions
Songwriter: USHER
Producer: DUPREE and COX
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Concept
A song of hurt, regret and conflicted feelings when a love relationship is about to end.

Lyric
Lyric Usher often expresses the inherent conflicts of loving someone. This lyric shares the intimate pain of a very personal love letter.

It’s gonna burn for me to say this, it’s comin’ from my heart

It’s been a long time comin, but we done fell apart

Really want to work this out, but I don’t think ya gonna change ya

I do but you don’t, think it’s best we go our separate ways

Tell me why I should stay in this relationship

When I’m hurtin’ baby, I ain’t happy baby,

Plus there’s so many other things I gotta deal with

I think that you should let it burn

Groove
A complex slow sensual groove with layers of mixed 16ths and 8ths and a subtle overlay of hip 32nd figures in the background and also in the vocal phrasing.

Melody
An unusual melody for R&B in a 7-tone major scale. The phrasing alternates between conversational syncopated rap-like fast-paced lines and stretched out held out notes as in the hook Let It Burn.

Harmony
Extensive use of a simple I chord with sparse use IV and V chords. Rhythm and melody are much more important than harmony here.

Structure
Intro A B A B A B Tag

Spoken Intro Verse (Hook) Chorus (Hook) Verse (Hook) Chorus (Hook) Verse (Hook) Chorus Tag

Signature
A classic spoken ooh baby intro.

Production
Simple in its complexity, sparse background showcases the vocal expertly and flawlessly.

Performance
Sincere soft-spoken, sweetly and expressively sung in Usher’s unique original manner.

Predicted Longevity
Pioneering in both sound and style, this recording is so unique and special that it could live within its niche for quite some time.

Album Cover: Confessions

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