R’n’B lothario sings the praises of monogamy on patchy fifth album
Bad news ladies. Usher Raymond, the baby-faced r’n’b smoothie, has found ‘the one’. He has reigned in his philandering tendencies, is happy to be a house cat and, furthermore, wants to tell the world on this, his fifth album, that his new life of monogamy is for real.
Here I Stand is one long, sprawling paean to Usher’s newfound domestic bliss and its in-built quotidian charms. On the silky ‘Trading Places’ he croons about breakfast-in-bed and doing some house chores (“Time to get up/Let me make this bed up”), while on ‘This Ain’t Sex’ he’s effusive in his praise for a good, honest shag with his partner, likening their lovemaking to “making moments that will outlast the world.”
The sentiments are certainly noble and Usher’s love-bombing is at times infectious. Never an artist to push the envelope with production, his play-it-safe soul stance and syrupy larynx chime effectively on the slinky ‘Before I Met You’ and ‘Something Special’, which boasts polished guitar licks. Elsewhere, the evergreen Jay-Z makes a typical grandstanding appearance on ‘Best Thing’, adding some much needed brio, while Will.i.am’s dark, sparse synth backing track lights up ‘What’s Your Name’.
There is, however, a limit to how many slick slow jams you can listen to on a record, and Hear I Stand tramples over such accepted boundaries. The album runs out of puff long before the finish, leaving a schmaltzy aftertaste, with Usher seemingly incapable of knowing when to stop gushing. Well, love is blind after all.
Key Track: ‘What’s Your Name’
Over the course of 17 sweat-soaked years, R&B lover boy Usher has sold 65 million records, bringing him in at number 21 on billboard's list of the most successful artists of all time. Celina Murphy goes backstage with the seven-time Grammy winner to talk breaking ground - and breaking hearts.Read More
The R&B star is on his first European tour in six yearsRead More
R&B Superstar here in 2011.Read More
Competent singing, excellent dancing, but the songs are just underpants of the highest order!Read More
If you’re looking for bombastic sanctimony, look no further! It’s an r’n’b thing and while Usher is unlikely to outdo ‘80s precursors like Lionel Ritchie or Dennis Edwards, Confessions is indeed a sanctimonious record.Read More
Usher has announced a July 3 date at The PointRead More
Way too serious to be good pop music, 8710 is simply no fun.Read More