Nice & Slow

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"Nice & Slow"
Nice & Slow.jpg
Single by Usher
from the album My Way
ReleasedJanuary 6, 1998 (1998-01-06)
Genre
Length3:48
Label
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)Jermaine Dupri
Usher singles chronology
"You Make Me Wanna..."
(1997)
"Nice & Slow"
(1998)
"The Party Continues"
(1998)
Remix cover
Usherniceandslowremixes.jpg
Audio sample
"Nice & Slow"
Music video
"Nice & Slow" on YouTube

"Nice & Slow" is a song from American singer-songwriter Usher's second album, My Way (1997). Released on January 6, 1998, the song became Usher's first number-one single on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart in February 1998. The song was written by Usher, Brian 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 R&B, pop 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 in the United States on January 6, 1998.[9][10][11] On February 3, 1998, it was serviced to US contemporary hit radio.[12] A maxi single was released on March 2, 1998, and a remixes CD was made available on March 9, 1998.[13][14] In the United Kingdom, "Nice & Slow" was issued as CD single, a 12-inch single, and a cassette single on April 20, 1998.[15]

Critical reception[edit]

A writer for the Daily News called it "warmly engaging".[16] A writer for Jet praised Usher's "tender" vocals on the "sensuous ballad", stating that he displayed romance on the song.[4] In 2016, Complex ranked the song number seven on their list of the 25 greatest Usher songs,[17] and in 2021, American Songwriter ranked the song number eight on their list of the 10 greatest Usher songs.[18]

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.[19] 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.[20] "Nice & Slow" continued to ascend the Hot 100, reaching number one on February 14, succeeding "Together Again" by Janet Jackson.[21] It remained atop the chart on February 21, but on February 28 it was replaced by Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On".[22] On the UK Singles Chart, "Nice & Slow" reached number 24.[23]

Music video[edit]

The music video for the song was directed by Hype Williams and shot in Paris in February 1998.[24][25] Kimora Lee Simmons plays Usher's love interest.[26] 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.[26] Usher and Simmons drive across a bridge, and midway they are confronted by several gangsters, who kidnap and cage Simmons and beat Usher.[26] 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 and a grenade starts to blow. Usher and the gangsters then engage in hand-to-hand combat. Usher and Simmons are together rides escape away on a motorbike as the windows of building behind them explosion. They are then seen relaxing on a sofa in triumphant, before she saw a computer is zoomed in on, which features the song's title written over and over on a word processor.

Track listing[edit]

US CD and cassette[10][11]

  1. "Nice & Slow"
  2. "Nice & Slow" (instrumental)

US 12-inch vinyl and CD-maxi[27][28]

  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 CD1

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

Remixes CD[29]

  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[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
New Zealand (RMNZ)[50] Gold 5,000*
United States (RIAA)[20] 3× Platinum 1,500,000[51]

* Sales figures based on certification alone.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b My Way (CD liner). Usher. LaFace Records. 1997.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  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. Vol. 109, no. 33. New York: Nielsen Business Media. p. 20. ISSN 0006-2510.
  8. ^ Stein, Joel (February 23, 1998). "People: Feb. 23, 1998". Archived from the original on January 29, 2011. Retrieved March 28, 2011.
  9. ^ "23rd Anniversary of Usher's 'Nice & Slow'". We Miss Music. January 6, 2021. Retrieved October 27, 2021.
  10. ^ a b "Nice & Slow". Amazon. Retrieved March 27, 2011.
  11. ^ a b "Nice & Slow". Amazon. Retrieved March 28, 2011.
  12. ^ "New Releases". Radio & Records. No. 1233. January 30, 1998. p. 53.
  13. ^ "Nice & Slow". Amazon.de. Retrieved March 28, 2011.
  14. ^ "Nice & Slow: The Remixes". Amazon. Retrieved March 28, 2011.
  15. ^ "New Releases: Singles". Music Week. April 18, 1998. p. 27.
  16. ^ "Sound Check (L.A. Life)". Daily News. October 3, 1997. Archived from the original on November 5, 2012. Retrieved March 4, 2011.
  17. ^ "The 25 Best Usher Songs". Complex. October 14, 2016. Retrieved March 29, 2022.
  18. ^ Uitti, Jacob (December 18, 2021). "Top 10 Usher Songs". American Songwriter. Retrieved March 29, 2022.
  19. ^ "Hot 100". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media. January 24, 2011. Retrieved April 6, 2011.
  20. ^ a b "American single certifications – Usher – Nice and Slow". Recording Industry Association of America.
  21. ^ "Hot 100". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media. February 14, 2011. Retrieved April 6, 2011.
  22. ^ "Hot 100". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media. February 28, 2011. Retrieved April 6, 2011.
  23. ^ a b "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  24. ^ Duncan, Andréa (February 1998). "Super man child". Vibe. InterMedia Partners. 6 (1): 87. ISSN 1070-4701.
  25. ^ "Usher " Music Videos". MTV. February 11, 1998. Retrieved March 28, 2011.
  26. ^ a b c Fox, Erin (January 26, 2011). "Video Rewind: Usher – 'Nice And Slow'". WQAL. CBS Radio. Retrieved April 15, 2011.
  27. ^ Nice & Slow (12-inch vinyl). Usher. LaFace Records. 1998.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  28. ^ Nice & Slow (CD-maxi). Usher. LaFace Records. 1998.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  29. ^ Nice & Slow (Remixes CD). Usher. LaFace Records. 1998.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  30. ^ "Usher – Nice & Slow". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  31. ^ "Usher Chart History (Canadian Digital Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved October 27, 2021.
  32. ^ "Top RPM Dance/Urban: Issue 3526." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved October 27, 2021.
  33. ^ "Eurochart Hot 100 Singles". Music & Media. Vol. 15, no. 19. May 9, 1998. p. 14.
  34. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 11, 1998" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved October 27, 2021.
  35. ^ "Usher – Nice & Slow" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  36. ^ "Usher – Nice & Slow". Top 40 Singles.
  37. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved October 27, 2021.
  38. ^ "Usher – Nice & Slow". Singles Top 100.
  39. ^ "Official Hip Hop and R&B Singles Chart Top 40". Official Charts Company. Retrieved October 27, 2021.
  40. ^ "Usher Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  41. ^ "Usher Chart History (Dance Singles Sales)". Billboard. Retrieved May 22, 2022.
  42. ^ "Usher Chart History (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Billboard.
  43. ^ "Usher Chart History (Rhythmic)". Billboard.
  44. ^ "End of Year Charts 1998". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved October 27, 2021.
  45. ^ "Billboard Top 100 – 1998". Billboardtop100of.com. Retrieved April 23, 2021.
  46. ^ "Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs – Year-End 1998". Billboard. Retrieved April 23, 2021.
  47. ^ "Most Played Mainstream Top 40 Songs of 1998" (PDF). Billboard. Vol. 6, no. 52. December 25, 1998. p. 45. Retrieved June 29, 2022.
  48. ^ "Most Played Rhythmic Top 40 Songs of 1998" (PDF). Billboard. Vol. 6, no. 52. December 25, 1998. p. 46. Retrieved June 29, 2022.
  49. ^ "Hot 100 Singles of the '90s". Billboard. Vol. 111, no. 52. December 25, 1999. p. YE-20. Retrieved October 15, 2010.
  50. ^ "New Zealand single certifications – Usher – Nice & Slow". Recorded Music NZ.
  51. ^ "Best-Selling Records of 1998". Billboard. Vol. 111, no. 5. January 30, 1999. p. 75. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved May 31, 2015.