I hate to relate two totally different artists of completely different genres but I do want to bring up my first thought when I completed listening to Confessions for the first time. In 2002, Christina Aguilera released her single, “Dirrty” as a hip, up-beat club hit to liberate her from the overdone pop scene in which she premiered. She also created this image that she was a party girl and nothing more. But, you have to admit, “Dirrty” was a catchy song.
It was enough for you to go out and buy Stripped. Maybe there would be other fast paced, naughty dance songs that’ll make you wanna get up and shake your ass. But, when you played the album all the way through, you realized your assumption was wrong. You find that her album is full of heart-felt slower paced songs that showcased her talented vocals, versatile production, and most importantly her soul.
Let’s speed up to 2004. Usher released “Yeah” as the first single off Confessions. The song can be found overplayed on the radio as well as the club scene. You’ve heard it so much that you finally give in and go buy it. When you put it in, you find the same thing you found with Christina Aguilera’s Stripped. You find that this album has depth.
With 17 tracks, Usher will drive you down memory lane through his stories of infidelity, sexual fantasies, ending a one-sided relationship, and getting “caught up” in one too many situations with the opposite sex. The album isn’t totally as slow as many critics have claimed. 8701 was full of faster songs to make the CD end faster. It was often frustrating for the typical fan to listen to the album for the fact of knowing they’d be disappointed when the CD was done within a short amount of time. It’s almost as bad as an artist having to leave early from a concert. You don’t get your money’s worth. Usher makes up for that mistake on this album. This CD will leave you satisfied with Usher for a while. You won’t beg for new music from him anytime soon. You’re going to want to enjoy these songs for a long, long time.
The songs on Confessions return to the R&B flavor that makes the songs smooth and sexy rather than sweaty and heart-racing. He promised he’d bring back the true essence of an R&B album and he delivered. I’d say that each of the Usher albums show an evolution, especially the last two. 8701 proved he could pursue love and experience it. Confessions proved he can also be “burned” by a lover yet stand up and continue to make great music that fans can relate to. His voice, the lyrics, and the sound is much more mature than that of his previous album.
One thing I suggest is for you to listen to 8701 after you listen to Confessions. You will be able to hear the growth much better when you compare the two. The first two singles, “Yeah” and “Burn” are definite hits but I personally think “Bad Girl,” “Throwback,” and “Can U Handle It” are a few of the standout singles on this album. There’s at least one song on this album for everyone. If you’re ready to get personal with Usher, this is the album to buy.
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