U Remind Me

Album: 8701 (2001)
Charted: 3 1
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Songfacts®:

  • In Usher's 1997 hit "You Make Me Wanna," he tells the girl she makes him want to leave the one he's with and start a new relationship with her. In "U Remind Me," it's kind of the opposite: He tells the girl he can't get with her because she reminds him of his ex, whom he can't get over. Usher's songs often play out these love triangles and other "it's complicated" romantic scenarios.
  • This song was written by Eddie Clement and his sister, Anita McCloud. Clement, who sometimes uses the name Eddie Hustle, wanted the song for his group Hustle Child, but his manager sent the demo to LA Reid, head of Usher's label, LaFace. When Reid heard the song he knew it would be perfect for Usher and convinced Clement to give it up. Good move: It was a huge hit and earned big bucks for the writers - certainly more than a Hustle Child recording would have. Clement and McCloud also wrote "Girl Talk" for another LaFace artist, TLC.
  • Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis produced this track along with Clement. Usher's main producer at the time was Jermaine Dupri, but there was plenty of room for others, especially those on the level of Jam and Lewis, the team responsible for many of Janet Jackson's hits.

    It was Usher's mother - also his manager - who reached out to Jam and Lewis, who don't ordinarily produce songs they didn't write, but were looking for an in at LaFace, which had an impressive roster of artists.
  • This was the lead single from Usher's third album, 8701 (the title refers to the release date: August 7, 2001). His previous album, My Way, was released four years earlier when Usher was 18 and contained the #1 hit "Nice & Slow." "U Remind Me" gave him his second #1, and another track from the album, "U Got It Bad" landed him his third. He waited another three years to release his next album, Confessions.
  • "U Remind Me" was #1 in the US for all of July 2001, giving it a claim to song of the summer. The other contenders are the Missy Elliott remake of "Lady Marmalade" and Destiny's Child's "Bootylicious."
  • The music video was directed by Dave Meyers and stars Chilli (Rozonda Thomas) from TLC, Usher's LaFace labelmate and adolescent crush. Chilli plays the girl Usher can't get out of his mind - they get steamy in a club at the end of the video.

    This was when their real-life romance was kindling. For a while, they claimed to be just friends, a tactic Jay-Z and Beyoncé also tried around this time. Usher and Chilli dated until 2003. His Confessions album tells the story of a guy who cheated on his girl, but Usher claimed it wasn't autobiographical.
  • Usher previewed this song with a performance at the BET Awards on June 19, 2001. When the album was released on August 7, LaFace declared it "Usher Day." He performed the song that morning on Live With Regis & Kelly and appeared that afternoon on MTV's Total Request Live.
  • Usher didn't tour for the 8701 album until February 2002, six months after it was released. This was partly because of September 11, but also because he committed to two Michael Jackson tribute concerts held at Madison Square Garden on September 7 and 10, 2001. Usher borrowed a lot of his stage presence from Jackson and was willing to pay tribute at the concerts by performing Jackson's songs instead of his own. He opened both shows with "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'," and the second night also took part in performances of "Man In The Mirror" and "You Rock My World."
  • You're not likely to confuse the songs, but Nickelback also released a song called "How You Remind Me" in 2001, which also went to #1.
  • Usher was in a U phase for the album, which also includes "U Got It Bad," "I Can't Let U Go," "U Don't Have to Call," and a few others of this variety. We take it the U stands for Usher.
  • At one point in the video, Usher humps a tree. This didn't go unnoticed. Gawker ran a story pointing out other instances of Usher grinding against inanimate objects.

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