While Usher continues to protest the "new king of pop" accolades critics have slung at him for years, his sixth album proves that his ability to make grown-up hits is stronger than ever. The 31-year-old's tunes draw from tumultuous love life experiences, and he's unconcerned with preserving his clean-cut image. [rssbreak] On Hey Daddy (Daddy's Home) and Lil Freak, he's unafraid to get lewd, while Papers finds him tackling the subject of divorce with candid vitriol.
The man whose career-defining album was called Confessions is clearly no Greta Garbo when it comes to his personal business. Usher’s sixth album has been billed as his most intimate yet, but aside from the last-straw slow jam ”Papers,” which explictly details the dissolution of his marriage, and heartfelt cheater’s mea culpa ”Foolin’ Around,” Raymond v Raymond doesn’t offer much real revelation. Its main aim is more standard issue: Sleek, grown-and-sexy R&B tuned to seduction, not divorce court.
Usher has always maintained a systematic approach with his music: formulaically smooth, sexy R&B tracks that not only highlight his liquid vocals, but offer intricate storylines of passionate affairs that sometimes creep into autobiographical territory. For his sixth album, Raymond v. Raymond, the content is all too predictable with currents of sexual trysts and glides to danceable tracks that fuse bedroom rendezvous with apologetic turns.
The making of Usher’s sixth studio album was inevitably affected by the end of his marriage and its aftershocks. “Papers,” the early buzz single for Raymond V Raymond, bears the closest relation to the turbulence he experienced. He pours himself into that song more than any other on the set, and breakup lyrics don’t get much more specific than “You don’t think I know what’s up, but sweetheart that’s what ruined us” or “I done damn near lost my mama.” The song was awarded the top spot on the R&B/Hip-Hop chart, most likely for its lyrical uniqueness since the song does not break out of an exceptionally repetitive twiddle.
This album has topped the US charts, where fans of Usher Raymond IV avidly follow his life. The subject of Raymond v Raymond – his recent divorce, which may have been precipitated by his roving eye – is the stuff of gossip blogs there, but is less familiar here. Thus, to transatlantic ears, Raymond v Raymond sounds like straightforward priapic musings.
There are three important things one must recognize in order to properly understand why Usher’s latest album, Raymond vs. Raymond, is his worst. 1. Confessions really was not all that confessional. But promoting it as such did make it a huge commercial success.. 2. Here I Stand was a damn near ….
The songs on Usher’s sixth album, Raymond v. Raymond, are supposed to be inspired by his recent divorce, and the singer has done his best to hype the album as a racy tell-all in the model of his blockbuster Confessions. “Monstar” opens with Usher promising to tell both sides of his story and, eventually, the truth, but beyond a few numbingly literal verses in songs like “Papers” and “Guilty,” there’s little narrative to follow.
Don’t come to this thinking you’ll get the inside scoop on a celebrity divorce. Fraser McAlpine 2010 Judging from the title, this should be a similar affair to Marvin Gaye’s Here, My Dear, an album which soundtracks the messy end to a high-profile marriage, with Usher lobbing bitter-bombs at his ex, Tameka Foster. But Usher is also every inch the modern businessman, and his business largely concerns singing about making love with girls, which he does here, a lot: divorce or no divorce.