Album: Usher

Confessions, Arista
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The Independent Culture

According to his press release, the R&B smoochmeister Usher "encompasses all aspects of entertainment with a flair for originality bettered by no other". Oh, really? Why then, one wonders, didn't he try applying a little of that "originality" to Confessions, an album so bereft of original ideas it could probably get a job in television. He is, apparently, David Beckham's favourite performer - which is pleasingly apt, in that Usher deals in an updated version of the bland Essex-funkateer boudoir-soul so beloved of footballers through the ages. Arguably even worse, given that Usher's hip-hop sprechstimme delivery largely dispenses with variations in melody, rendering the songs virtually indistinguishable for much of the album, reliant on the listener's ability to recognise the different styles of Jermaine Dupri, Rich Harrison, Andre Harris & Vidal Davis, Lil' Jon and Jam & Lewis. Confessions is a loose concept album about desire and deceit, with Usher either beating the g

According to his press release, the R&B smoochmeister Usher "encompasses all aspects of entertainment with a flair for originality bettered by no other". Oh, really? Why then, one wonders, didn't he try applying a little of that "originality" to Confessions, an album so bereft of original ideas it could probably get a job in television. He is, apparently, David Beckham's favourite performer - which is pleasingly apt, in that Usher deals in an updated version of the bland Essex-funkateer boudoir-soul so beloved of footballers through the ages. Arguably even worse, given that Usher's hip-hop sprechstimme delivery largely dispenses with variations in melody, rendering the songs virtually indistinguishable for much of the album, reliant on the listener's ability to recognise the different styles of Jermaine Dupri, Rich Harrison, Andre Harris & Vidal Davis, Lil' Jon and Jam & Lewis. Confessions is a loose concept album about desire and deceit, with Usher either beating the girls off with a stick, giving in to temptation, boasting of his sensual accomplishments, or worrying about how he's going to explain his infidelities to his main squeeze. "Everything that I've been doing is all bad," he frets in the title-track. "I got a chick on the side with a crib and a ride." And what partner would fail to be placated by such a sensitive formulation of the situation?

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