One thing can be said about Usher Raymond, he is still a leading R&B heartthrob and consistent singer delivering his 6th studio album, “Here I stand”.
However, fans and listeners would be stun as Usher, who is typically known to serenade the ladies as well as describing his personal sexual conquests, have change in the subject for the tone of this album especially.
After going from one lady after another in the tabloids since his break-up with Chilli from TLC, Usher married Tameka Foster, who together with the birth of his son, have left an significant impression in his life’s perception as man. With the sudden passing of his father in early 2008, Usher have since shifted his direction in portraying a rather positive image of himself as a husband and father.
Gone are the sexual adventures and seduction, Here I stand is a celebration of commitment, growth as a man and education against temptation.
Usher is telling the men to appreciate the joys and happiness of the woman they chose as their spouse and about being faithful. Songs such as Appetite tell how he prefers the joys of a home cooked meal alongside his family as compared to a liaison with a lady in a club while the Best thing featuring the recently hitched Jay-Z, have him proudly declaring to his wife or perhaps his son they are the best thing that have happened to him..
But as always, an Usher album would not be completed without a club banger for the ladies and gents to grind to or nod their head in the club. “Love is in the club” featuring Young Jeezy, produced by Polow da Don, was released in February have being heating up the club and radio airwaves. Despite being a rather controversial song, as an observer in youtube showed how the song was lazily constructed by Polow through preset sound modules in Garage band, this didn’t hinder the ringtone downloads as well as gold status the song have achieved from iTunes.
The 2nd video single “Moving Mountains” is about Usher trying to do the impossible to fix past relationships or issues as portrayed in the video and the lyrics of the song. This can coupled up as a subliminal message to his mother whom he had a huge falling out due to his relationship with Tameka with the irony of also him installing Tameka as his personal manager instead of his mother.
This album as a whole is good as it follows up 2004’s “Confessions” in its theme but this album didn’t quite reached the complete R&B album in terms of subject matter, club bangers and all-around listenable status which is set by Justin Timberlake’s “Future Sex Love Song”. Although listenable, corny songs such as This isn’t Sex and Trading Places are filler tracks just to satisfy the album’s quota.
With a slew of platinum recording artiste such as will.i.am, Beyonce, Jay-Z and Lil Wayne appearing to support his latest effort, this album is a solid & consistent effort by Usher in spite of a diluted R&B market where songs generally targeted for radio & club airplay. A worthy buy as well as a worthy legal download.