Since his self-titled debut album in 1994, R&B singer Usher has captivated millions with his soulful tenor. Now nearly 15 years later, he is now a veteran to the game. Now dropping his fifth studio album, entitled “Here I Stand,” Usher explores themes such as love and maturity. It is clear he has grown a little since the days of “You Make Me Wanna.”
“Here I Stand’s” title track has a jazzy neo-soul vibe, as Usher sings over a subdued piano’s mellow chords, promising his faithfulness: “I’m hoping that this ain’t to hard to believe/ Cause baby you’re the only one for me,” he sings.
Of course the hit “Love in This Club” is present, as well as its remix, featuring Beyoncé and Lil Wayne. “Before I Met You” and “His Mistakes” show a more introspective of Usher, as he reflects on the mistakes he’s made in past relationships and his growth as a person. “Girl if I died tonight before I wake/ Know that you touched my life in oh so many ways.”
The upbeat “Something Special” is probably the most radio-friendly of the songs here. With a catchy acoustic guitar hook, Usher sings about finding a special relationship and maturing as a person: “Think back to the time, when I was scared to let it show/ Having too much fun/ With this and that one/ Now that you’re mine/ Somewhere along the way/ Things fell into place,” he sings, audibly smiling ear to ear.
The emotional “Love You Gently” is also well done. “What’s a Man to Do,” “It is What it Is,” and “Will Work for Love” were good as well. “Lifetime” and “Best thing” were the only two tracks I really disliked, simply because of their annoyingly repetitive instrumentals. Usher’s voice stays consistent throughout the entire album, however.
Usher’s voice sounds excellent on nearly every track, and the album’s topnotch production values only make everything sound better. Usher has matured as a singer and as a person, and this definitely comes through on “Here I Stand.” If you’re at all a fan of R&B, you need this album.
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