Showcasing Usher's maturity from teen pop star to a singer of considerable substance.
Jack Smith 2002-11-20
If you believe the tabloid press, Usher Raymond has one mighty libido.
He told the Sun: "I'm a sexaholic. I'm addicted to sex. I am a man with strong needs. It's impossible for me to be in a relationship. At least while I'm still young." This may go some way to explain his recent parting with Rozonda Thomas from TLC after three years together. It also begs the question: how many of the tracks on his fourth long-player were written with her in mind?
It's a proven fact that sex sells; just look at Janet Jackson's coverage following her Super Bowl 'boob'! The recent media frenzy surrounding Usher's exploits has more than paid dividends, helping to propel him to the top of the UK singles and album charts.
The album opens with the first single Yeah, featuring Ludacris, and from there on presents the listener with a plethora of potential singles. There's meaty hip-grinding licks on Caught Up, and a funky 70s rub on both Throwback (complete with loops and backing vocal samples from Dionne Warwick) and the Harold Melvin-sampling Take Your Hand.
As the title implies, this is an autobiographical album, and the lyrics see him glide from the sexually charged (That's What It's Made For and Can U Handle It?) to the almost embarassingly personal. On Confessions Part II he tells his lover, "I'm having a baby by a woman I barely even know," while Truth Hurts may well have significant meaning to Ms Thomas. Is it mere theatre or is he really putting his cards on the table?
Ultimately it doesn't matter. The jury is in and the record-buying public has voted with their hard-earned cash. It's scary to think that it's now 10 years since the 14-year-old first made his mark on the RnB scene. Yet four albums later, in the wake of multi-platinum sales, he's matured from a teen pop star to a sultry singer of considerable substance.