Usher – Here I Stand / Album Review

By on Monday, 21st July 2008 at 7:27 pm

Where does one start when reviewing the likes of an Usher Raymond album, perhaps with the units sold? No, that’s not a true reflection of the quality. Perhaps by the heavy duty collaborators? No still not a gauge for substance. Perhaps with the title? Yes, you see a lot can be seen of an artist by what he chooses to name his potential masterpiece.

Here I Stand, now what can one glean from a title such as this? Possibly an attempt to ‘man up’, show the world that he is no longer the boy that demanded things were done ‘My way’. Then again, he could be showing the world that he’s made huge advancements from man child making slip up mistakes that required a whole docket full of ‘Confessions’. So there he stands, a man with a wife and child in tow to add credence to his newfound status, the question is; does the album reflect that? Does this album show him to be the man he so desperately wants the world to see him as?

Our first glimpse into this new found ‘manned-up’ Usher comes in the form of a pondering crooner questionably titled ‘Forever young’, the questionable aspect is who exactly is his opening track directed to, his wife, his audience or his precious son? Does it matter, well yes, as first impressions are heavily weighted when it comes to importance, without clarity at this early point one is forced to ruminate over whether the rest of the album will be lacking in specificity and definitive direction.

Luckily the second glimpse we get comes in the form ‘Love in this club’, a simple club bobber, one that even when completely inebriated, heavy bass lines will help keep your person bobbing in the right direction. Unfortunately that’s about all that its good for, unless one is looking to get schooled in the art of what not to say if trying to make light conversation and snag that Betty in the corner. Offering her your skills right then and there on the alcohol slimed floor may not be the best way to get those digits, but hey if it works for him, then you might be in with a chance! Add the slow fused diction of Young Jeezy and perhaps you might get the opportunity to do the “R rated” in the club as well.

Now that you’ve left the humping that happened in the club, one would assume you’d need a rest; not if you’ve gone home with the Usher-man. No, once he’s gotten you home the serenading continues and despite its upbeat tempo, this song is NOT, I repeat NOT about sex, no it is about the “true makings of love” and the creating of “moments that will outlast the world”.

Now if you’re not all sexed out, I mean exhausted from all the “moment making”, then gear up for ‘Trading places’, yup, it’s another round of doing the grown up. I have to say this track does crack a smile and a bit more head bobbing, actually no its got a shoulder shake thrown in that I’m sure is inspired by the strong string work being strummed by TEK from NFE. His solo heavily aids this track into becoming possibly the most memorable of the album.

And then there’s climbing mountains, much like Frodo of Lord Of The Rings, you begin to look down at your watch and beg that he’ll reach the top sooner rather than later and at this point the album needs some rescuing as your senses begin to switch off, including the pass me the bucket ode to his son, we get the love, we feel the love but seriously…seriously Usher…SERIOUSLY!

To all those that were able to comfortably listen beyond this point I tip my hat to you, chances are, like me you had to take a break, put it on pause and prepare yourself for the rest. Usher’s 4 year break may have something to do with why this album feels so long-winded and drawn out, perhaps he should have split it in two and maybe release the rest of the track as ‘bonus’ tracks on his ‘limited edition’ version and then do it again for the ‘platinum edition’.

Copyright © Onome Okwuosa 2008. All rights reserved.

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