Release Date: 03.23.04
Record label: Arista
Genre(s): Rap, Hip-Hop, R&B, etc.
This is Not The Grass Roots
by: john reed
With the release of Confessions, Atlanta native Usher Raymond has gone from a mid-level soul/slow jam crooner to the biggest thing in current urban pop.
Confessions is jumping out of the CD bins, selling 1.1 million its first week and an additional 486,000 units in week number two. Not as strong as the initial week, but strong enough to keep Janet Jackson’s Damita Jo at a disappointing (for her expectations, anyways) #2 on the Hot 100 chart.
Now, before we get too excited; realize that Confessions is a good album, but it does not merit the inconceivable sales figures. Obviously the ultra-hooky and constantly played “Yeah” did help in racking up the numbers (and big props to Lil Jon and Ludacris for helping with that), but most of the constructed work that is Confessions will not light up your house party any more than a drowsy ballad from Ashanti.
Yes, there is some clever work on the disc; “Take Your Hand," stands out with its sampling of old Philadelphia Soul tracks (who could go wrong there?) as does the guitar heavy git "Bad Girl" (which should be the obvious follow-up single to “Yeah”), as well as the Jimmy Jam/Terry Lewis produced “Superstar,” which are in the same category of originality as “Yeah.”
But the revelatory tracks, which mostly concern the reasons for his much covered split with R&B chanteuse Chilli (from TLC), deal with his infidelity to her, an unexpected pregnancy, and the fact that he is a womanizer worthy of the busted playa in Shaggy’s “It Wasn’t Me.” The collected songs really make it seem as if Usher were publishing his very own tabloid rag.
With all the momentum from Confessions, Usher may very well end up being the heir apparent to the (now vacant) King of Pop throne (no Justin, you will never be the KOP…not matter what Rolling Stone proclaims). However, he has to overcome his vocal limitations and maybe avoid opening his personal diary to the universe, as sometimes confessing too much, can be painful. 14-Aor-2004 8:30 AM