From the very beginning, “Sins of My Father” is a soul cut in the literal sense, one where Usher fears he will pay the ultimate price for loving some kind of demon woman. “My sons,” gasps Usher. “Keep them…please forgive me.” Things only get more intense from there, as Usher sings in the song’s opening verse: “I think this woman went and put a hex on me / Oh now, why’d I let her go and put that sex on me?” And in case it wasn’t clear enough, Usher yelps in falsetto in the pre-chorus: “But she didn’t make me pay for it with my money! / OWWWW!!!” Yeah, it’s like that.
The voodoo-that-you-do feel of the lyrics is matched, and then some, by the creeping rumble provided by producer Salaam Remi (Nas’ “Made You Look,” Amy Winehouse’s “You Know I’m No Good”). The whole thing sounds like a death rattle, a hypnotically low bass line slinking around some ominously shook maracas, a molasses-slow drum loop, and by the end, even some John Barry-cinematic-style strings. If “Twisted” harked back to Otis Redding and Jackie Wilson, “Sins of My Father” is one step bluesier and evil-er, sounding more from the legacy of Howlin’ Wolf and Screamin’ Jay Hawkins—not quite as guttural, but Ush still uses all the tools at his disposal, even breaking out the fake voodoo accent, and more than gets the point across.
We really, really hope this one gets a music video.