First Listen: Usher and Kiana Ledé amp up "Jingle Jangle" movie theme song

(December 15, 2020) R&B king Usher has really been “caught up” with things in 2020. 

After a bit of a recording hiatus following 2016’s Hard II Love and only serving as a guest artist on other artists’ singles such as Summer Walker’s “Come Thru”, Usher has been hard-at-work on Confessions II, the hotly anticipated sequel to his diamond-certified magnum opus Confessions. In the meantime, he’s even jumped into the holiday craze. 

On “This Day,” the “Nice & Slow” singer is wonderfully paired up with Kiana Ledé, a rising talent who just recently released her glowing debut LP, KIKI, which peaked at #18 on the Billboard 200.

(December 15, 2020) R&B king Usher has really been “caught up” with things in 2020. 

After a bit of a recording hiatus following 2016’s Hard II Love and only serving as a guest artist on other artists’ singles such as Summer Walker’s “Come Thru”, Usher has been hard-at-work on Confessions II, the hotly anticipated sequel to his diamond-certified magnum opus Confessions. In the meantime, he’s even jumped into the holiday craze. 

On “This Day,” the “Nice & Slow” singer is wonderfully paired up with Kiana Ledé, a rising talent who just recently released her glowing debut LP, KIKI, which peaked at #18 on the Billboard 200.

The song, fired up with R&B and pop elements and a gospel chorus, feels like a page taken from The Greatest Showman, specifically the Oscar-nominated signature song “This Is Me.” It’s not dazzled with jingle bells, wintry wonderland lyrics and holly jolly ear candy confection like most formulaic holiday songs. Actually, if taken out the soundtrack and away from the festive film, it sounds like a standalone empowering single. Motivational in context, the lyrics point to a better and brighter day, a chance to live out one’s dreams and overcoming fear and failure. At one point, when their voices blend with the rousing choir, Usher and Kiana belt “forget about yesterday/It’s dead and gone away.” It’s the inspirational hymn we all need for 2020. 

The song opens up the Netflix holiday film, Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey, but with the voices of Justin Cornwell (young Jeronicus) and Sharon Rose (Joanne Jingle) singing the parts. This original cinematic musical feature, produced and directed by David E. Talbert (yes, the David E. Talbert from the Golden Age of gospel plays) has gotten rave reviews for his production size, A-list stars, whimsical storytelling and sweeping cinematography. Of all the songs featured in the motion picture soundtrack, Usher & Ledé’s duet, along with Keegan-Michael Key’s Evillene-No Bad News-y on-screen vocal performance on “Magic Man G,” easily rise to the top. 

In a year where we’ve seen a revived Usher return to the R&B charts (#1 for “Bad Habits” on Adult R&B Songs survey), it’s just as comforting to hear him being surrounded by feel good, cheery music. Ah, just in time for the holidays. 

Fellow SoulTrackers, check it out and let us know on “this day” what you think of this track. 

By J Matthew Cobb

Usher and Kiana Ledé
"This Day"

 

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