Usher - Confessions
Oh, I dunno...insert your own witty tale here as I'm struggling to say anything, never mind coming up with something creative. Y'know, it's Usher and having already seen this album trailed with its lead single, Yeah!, I'm almost plum tuckered as regards saying anything about him beyond the usual nonsense about R&B/urban music being as thrilling as a weekend spent alone in bed with your arms in casts.
The CD booklet shows Usher in various positions suggesting that he's in the mood for getting something off his chest, including being sat in the bath, letting the light streaming through a confessional fall on his face and...uh, checking out his crotch. From the album's first moments, when Usher whispers into the microphone that he's back - not an altogether pleasant listening experience - there's a sense of this going through almost everything that one would expect of it. Something about the ladies? What, you been reading the lyrics sheet? If so, you'll be aware of such selections as, "Now I seen a lot of broads / All on one accord...Take a look at my dame She take that hypnotica alaze" (Bad Girl) and, "'Bout that chick...I was creepin' with...Say she's three months' pregnant and she's keepin' it / How do I know that it's mine" (Confessions Part II). Besides not knowing what a hypnotica alaze is, I'm also unsure how that story goes down with God, who's credited on an R&B album as sure as a morning best spent alone follows a night of beer and curry. I suspect that, had He the chance, He'd be tempted to add a postscript to the Book Of Leviticus regarding the likes of Usher and the ungodly acts he visits upon music.
Possibly, depending on your view of it, the best lyrics are on Do It To Me, which read like a seduction masterclass from the pen of The Onion's Smoove B and set to a dreadfully tinny production. "I got two dozen roses / And a card that says Baby, I can't wait to see you later". A card? Oh, you smooth-writing devil, Usher. "Watching you work the stick in the ride...moving from third to five / Can't imagine what it's going to be once we get inside". You kidding me, Usher...like, you don't know? "Baby, it's time to be about it...let it flow / The squeezing, holding, biting, scratching, spanking, screaming...Baby, when you do it to me". Clearly, the lines about counting backwards, thinking about Anne Widdecombe in a bid to last just a little longer and the holding in of wind during orgasm all look as though they've been mislaid, meaning that this song, in the words of Morrissey, says nothing to me about my life.
Musically, Confessions is a dull album with many of the same tired beats that litter other Jam and Lewis and L.A. Reid albums with Usher's singing not far from the vocal leaps and bounds of both Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey, albeit at some distance from the melody of the song. Worse is that there's absolutely no feeling about this album, as though Usher was content to fit in its recording between picking up red roses down at his local all-night garage and visiting the printers to decided on a font for the cards that will say, "Baby, I can't wait to see you later". With there being nothing, absolutely nothing, to praise this album for, can I suggest that instead of this, you pay a visit to Sly Stone's There's a Riot Goin' On or Marvin Gaye's What's Going On to hear just how soul legends once recorded outstanding albums.