Nice & Slow

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"Nice & Slow"
Single by Usher
from the album My Way
Released January 6, 1998
Format CD single, cassette single, maxi single, 12"
Genre R&B, pop, soul
Length 3:48
Label LaFace, Arista
Writer(s) Brian Casey, Brandon Casey, Manuel Seal Jr., Jermaine Dupri, Usher Raymond
Producer(s) Jermaine Dupri
Usher singles chronology
"You Make Me Wanna"
(1997)
"Nice & Slow"
(1997)
"My Way"
(1998)
Music sample

"Nice & Slow" is a 1998 single from Usher's second album My Way. It became his first number-one single on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in early 1998. The song was written by Usher, Brian and Brandon Casey of the R&B group Jagged Edge, Manuel Seal Jr. and Jermaine Dupri.

Background and composition[edit]

"Nice & Slow" was written by Usher, Jermaine Dupri, Manuel Seal, and Brian Casey, with Dupri producing the tune and Seal serving as co-producer and responsible for the guitar work. Jagged Edge provided background vocals in the record. "Nice & Slow" was recorded by Phil Tan at the Somewhere in College Park studio in College Park, Georgia. Tan and Dupri mixed the record with assistance from John and Brian Frye at Studio LaCoCo, in Atlanta, Georgia.[1] Dupri recalled telling Usher he needed a ballad to "knock out the world". The beat was created first, and the lyrics were fitted to it. The composition and recording of "Nice & Slow" took four hours, according to Dupri.[2]

"Nice & Slow" is a slow pop, R&B and soul ballad with hip hop influences.[3][4][5] Musicologist Richard J. Ripani wrote that "Nice & Slow" is an example of the typical "R&B ballad style that became widely popular" in the late 1990s.[6] According to the sheet music published at Musicnotes.com by Universal Music Publishing Group, "Nice & Slow" is written in common time with a slow tempo of sixty-eight beats per minute. Set in the key of A major, it follows the basic chord progression of Fm11–Cm7–Dmaj13–E9sus. Usher's voice spans from the low note of E4 to the high note of A5.[3] "Nice & Slow" features a spoken introduction,[3] while in the middle of the song Usher performs a melodic rap,[1] which Billboard's Shawnee Smith compared to the syle of Do or Die.[7] Usher said to Time that "Nice & Slow" is "somewhat of an intimate story between a man and a woman."[8]

Release[edit]

"Nice & Slow" was released via CD single and cassette single on January 6, 1998.[9][10] A maxi-single was released on March 2, 1998,[11] and a 12-inch on April 20[12] A remixes CD was made available on March 9, 1998.[13]

Critical reception[edit]

A writer for the Daily News called it "warmly engaging".[14] A writer for Jet praised Usher's "tender" vocals on the "sensuous ballad", stating that the he displayed romance on the song.[4]

Chart performance[edit]

"Nice & Slow" debuted at number nine on the Billboard Hot 100 on the chart dated January 24, 1998, as "You Make Me Wanna...", the first single from My Way slipped from number seven to number ten.[15] On February 2, 1998, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) awarded the song a gold certification, following up with a platinum one on February 12.[16] "Nice & Slow" continued to ascend the Hot 100, reaching number one on February 14, succeeding "Together Again" by Janet Jackson.[17] It remained atop the chart on February 21, but on February 28 it was replaced by Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On".[18] On the UK Singles Chart, "Nice & Slow" reached number twenty-four.[19]

Music video[edit]

The music video for the song was directed by Hype Williams and shot in Paris.[20][21] Kimora Lee Simmons plays Usher's love interest.[22] The video opens with the caption "4:00 pm Paris" as Usher gets out of an aeroplane. He is shown shirtless in a hotel room having a telephone conversation with his love interest, consisting of the song's spoken intro. Usher and Simmons prepare for their date, and meet each other before sightseeing around Paris in a convertible. Interspersed are low-angle shots of Usher dancing on a sidewalk. As the day becomes night, Usher is seen wearing sunglasses playing a guitar and dancing shirtless in front of the Eiffel Tower.[22] Usher and Simmons drive across a bridge, and midway they are confronted by several gangsters, who kidnap and cage Simmons and beat Usher.[22] Usher appeals to police, who are apparently of no help, and proceeds to locate the gangsters' lair himself. He offers a briefcase to the gangsters, which explodes after being opened. Usher and the gangsters then engage in hand-to-hand combat. Usher and Simmons ride away on a motorbike as the windows of building behind them explode. They are then seen relaxing on a sofa, before a computer is zoomed in on, which features the song's title written over and over on a word processor.

Track listings[edit]

CD and cassette[9][10]
  1. "Nice & Slow"
  2. "Nice & Slow" (instrumental)
12-inch vinyl and CD-maxi[23][24]
  1. "Nice & Slow" (Live Mix)
  2. "Nice & Slow" (B-Rock's Basement Mix)
  3. "Nice & Slow"
  4. "You Make Me Wanna..." (T & J Classic Garage Mix)

UK CD: 1

  1. "Nice & Slow"
  2. "Nice & Slow" (CD-Rom Video Element)
  3. "You Make Me Wanna..." / "Just Like Me" / "My Way" (Snippets)

Remixes CD[25]

  1. "Nice & Slow" (Radio Version)
  2. "Nice & Slow" (Live Version)
  3. "Nice & Slow" (B-Rock's Basement Mix)
  4. "Nice & Slow" (Suli & Stef's Club Class Mix - UK Mix)

Charts and certifications[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b My Way (CD liner). Usher. LaFace Records. 1997. 
  2. ^ Bronson, Fred (2003). The Billboard Book of Number 1 Hits (5th ed.). New York, NY: Billboard Books (Watson-Guptill). p. 863. ISBN 0-8230-7677-6. 
  3. ^ a b c "Usher - Nice & Slow Sheet Music". Musicnotes.com Universal Music Publishing Group. Retrieved March 28, 2011. 
  4. ^ a b "Hot Male Singers Keep Romance Alive". Jet (Johnson Publishing Company) 94 (16): 61. September 14, 1998. ISSN 0021-5996. 
  5. ^ Larkin, Colin (August 1998). The Virgin Encyclopedia of R&B and Soul. Virgin Publishing. p. 342. ISBN 9780753502419. 
  6. ^ Ripani, Richard J. (July 27, 2006). "Rap Goes Mainstream: 1990–1999". The New Blue Music: Changes in Rhythm & Blues, 1950-1999. Jackson, Mississippi: University Press of Mississippi. p. 156. ISBN 9781578068616. 
  7. ^ Smith, Shawnee (August 16, 1997). "LaFace Goes Back to School for Usher's Sophomore Set". Billboard (New York: Nielsen Business Media) 109 (33): 20. ISSN 0006-2510. 
  8. ^ Stein, Joel (February 23, 1998). "People: Feb. 23, 1998". Retrieved March 28, 2011. 
  9. ^ a b "Nice & Slow". Amazon.com. Retrieved March 27, 2011. 
  10. ^ a b "Nice & Slow". Amazon.com. Retrieved March 28, 2011. 
  11. ^ "Nice & Slow". Amazon.de. Retrieved March 28, 2011. 
  12. ^ "Nice 'n' Slow [12 [Vinyl LP]". Amazon.com. Retrieved March 30, 2011. 
  13. ^ "Nice & Slow: The Remixes". Amazon.com. Retrieved March 28, 2011. 
  14. ^ "Sound Check (L.A. Life)". Daily News. October 3, 1997. Retrieved March 4, 2011. 
  15. ^ "Hot 100". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media. January 24, 2011. Retrieved April 6, 2011. 
  16. ^ a b "Gold & Platinum – Search Results". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved April 6, 2011. 
  17. ^ "Hot 100". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media. February 14, 2011. Retrieved April 6, 2011. 
  18. ^ "Hot 100". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media. February 28, 2011. Retrieved April 6, 2011. 
  19. ^ a b "Usher". The Official Charts Company. Retrieved March 30, 2011. 
  20. ^ Duncan, Andréa (February 1998). "Super man child". Vibe (InterMedia Partners) 6 (1): 87. ISSN 1070-4701. 
  21. ^ "Usher " Music Videos". MTV. February 11, 1998. Retrieved March 28, 2011. 
  22. ^ a b c Fox, Erin (January 26, 2011). "Video Rewind: Usher – 'Nice And Slow'". WQAL. CBS Radio. Retrieved April 15, 2011. 
  23. ^ Nice & Slow (12-inch vinyl). Usher. LaFace Records. 1998. 
  24. ^ Nice & Slow (CD-maxi). Usher. LaFace Records. 1998. 
  25. ^ Nice & Slow (Remixes CD). Usher. LaFace Records. 1998. 
  26. ^ a b c d "Australian-charts.com – Usher – Nice & Slow". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  27. ^ "Usher Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot 100 for Usher.
  28. ^ "Usher Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs for Usher.
  29. ^ Geoff Mayfield (December 25, 1999). 1999 The Year in Music Totally '90s: Diary of a Decade - The listing of Top Pop Albums of the '90s & Hot 100 Singles of the '90s. Billboard. Retrieved October 15, 2010. 

External links[edit]