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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Here I Stand - Usher

(((Rating: 4)))

Bangers: Here I Stand, Love in this Club, Trading Places, Love You Gently & Before I Met You

Usher has been one of my favorite artists since I was about 10. I remember seeing him perform with Janet Jackson and R. Kelly on tour and having his posters plastered on my walls. He has been on the scene since he was 13 and he debuted his album Here I Stand in May 2008 for our listening pleasures. In my musical opinion, this was one of his most slept on and mature albums thus far. So I will provide a review of the album.

Intro - The intro seems as though he is taking his first step into REAL manhood and maturity. As he speaks of his loneliness and then finding love, it makes the listener really want to take the journey with him. To hear the full song, google "Forever Young".

Love In This Club - The garage band Polow Da Don produced track is certainly good material for a 1st single and Usher spared no expense in giving us the "sexy". Young Jeezy is featured here and is quite welcomed with his rugged but smooth rap lyrics and persona. "If we close our eyes, it could just be me and you..."! Definitely a banger that I still listen to!

This Aint Sex - "All ladies report to the dance floor..." This song possesses true Usher charm and maturity as he makes the listener sway, snap fingers and raise an arm or two! The snap back beat makes for good dancing and Usher croons and slides over the beat easily.

Trading Places - This song is definitely on the cutty list for me. From the animalistic drum beat, to the skeleton piano keys, and Ushers voice caressing each verse seductively, this song proves that he hasn't gone anywhere and doesn't plan on leaving soon. It is sure to make you bop your head and call your lover. "Now put it on me baby till I say oooh wee..."....yesss! The guitar towards the end is undeniably the climax instrument of choice.

Moving Mountains - While not a favorite of mine, I cannot deny the vulnerability in Usher's voice as he pleads for a love lost. "I know sorry just wouldn't do it, my heart is obliterated, I'm tryna travel through it..." The songs strong synths, piano cascades, and drums make for a very dramatic song.

What's Your Name - Heavy synths and hard-hitting beats make this one also a very danceable track. Usher says throughout the entire song about finding out someones name. Will.I.Am is also featured as both producer and artist. The bridge has to be a fav as the beat speeds up and becomes a more trance/fantasy song.

Prayer For You (Interlude) - This is the most touching song on his album by far as we hear the song start with Cinco (his son) cooing into the mic. He sings in a lullaby-ish way to his song but in fact it's a prayer. The harp and piano and light synths compliment Ushers voice nicely.

Something Special - This song honestly puts me in the mind of Robin Thicke's second album. The acoustic guitar and Usher's voice mesh well together as he speaks on his love and asking for patience. "I think we've got something special..." Nice track but not a favorite.

Love You Gently - This is definitely for the lovemakers as the beat drops slowly and dramaticly into the song and Usher sings in his trademarked falsetto. "Light as a feather but hard as a rock." If this one doesn't set the mood, something is wrong. Repeatable and cutty list material.

Best Thing - Honestly, while this isn't a bad track, it does come off a bit dated with the looped beat and piano. Jay-Z's verse is sub-par at best on this track. Skippable.

Before I Met You - This is another one of my favorites based on lyrical content alone. Usher sings, "I was a hustla and a player girl (before I met you)..." over a semi-dramatic heavy beat and synths. Very good song especially for the transformed players and those looking towards changing. :)

His Mistakes - This song is unfortunately a bit forgettable although extremely laid back. Usher sings about reminding a lover of a past pain and speaks on not being accountable for 'his mistakes'. While not a fav, it's not too skippable either.

Appetite - This has the be the most honest account of Usher's experience with another woman since he was married. He sings aggressively, "Tempted I must confess, but I better not make a mess, better give my girl my best, get my BS under arrest..."! :)

What's A Man to Do - Acoustic guitars and a nice relaxing beat accompanies Usher on his journey as he sings to his woman how his heart is in 2 different places. Whats a man to do? lol.

Lifetime - This beat is definitely a zone-out and drive type of song. He basically sings about how he will be around for a lifetime. Wonderful song. Repeatable. "Some only come in your life for a season..."

Here I Stand - This is one of the most beautiful songs I have heard in a long time. The simplistic live kick drum and piano give the feel of an old classic song. Lyrics like, "I know it's gets hard when I'm moving in and out of state, but I promised my heart for you I would save" and "you're the blessing I never thought I would get, and to the Lord I humbly bow my head"-prove just how serious Usher is about his growth and maturity in love and music. This is a song I'm sure I will hear at weddings. Absolutely a beautiful song and Usher's voice is pure and amazing in the chorus..."Forever yours, Here I Stand..."!

Overall, this album is a very good and solid album and based off Here I Stand alone...he gets an A + from me! :) Go buy it!

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