Imagine you were a fly on the wall for a frank conversation between some brothers from the ‘hood. You’d probably hear talk of cheating, relationship problems, the super freak from the club last night and fears about unplanned fatherhood.
Now add a melody, production by Lil’ Jon and Just Blaze and hooks that are sure to be heard coming out of many dorm room windows and you’ve got Usher Raymond’s fifth album “Confessions.” This 17-track LP seems to be a self-examination of Raymond’s mind.
Subsequently, this album is probably also a fair assessment of the consciousness of more than a few men in today’s society. The album’s two most popular singles reinforce this idea.
“Think it’s best we go our separate ways/ Tell me why I should stay in this relationship/ When I’m hurting baby, I ain’t happy baby,” taken from “Burn,” are words that any man can relate to that has broken off a relationship that he feels is at its end.
Then there’s “Yeah,” the track featuring the aforementioned “King of Crunk” and Ludacris, which most people on earth have already heard about 5,000 times. Any man that has met up with a beautiful woman at a nightspot, with a hip motion similar to that Jamaican dancer in “Belly,” understands the purpose of this song.
“You gonna’ want me back,” the haunting lyrics sung by the woman in the hook for the track “Throwback,” are words that will send a chill down the spine of a lot of so-called thugs. Don’t believe it? Just ask someone that has crossed the love of his life.
Every man that has struggled between his growing feelings for the new woman in his life and trying to not look “whipped” in front of his homeboys will probably be able to relate to “Caught Up.”
The realization that the hero of this song confronts his ideas about relationships and reality are themes repeated for the duration of the album.
The only possible drawback to this release is that it almost sounds like it has been done before. Maybe it’s the popular producers’ beats, or maybe it’s the common subject matter, but something in this LP sounds strangely familiar.
“Confessions” may not be the romantic serenade that most fans of the Grammy award winner have become accustomed to hearing. But that’s okay, because it wasn’t supposed to be that type of album anyway. This record is a glimpse inside of the fears, desires and heart of at least one black man. It’s also a pretty good album.
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