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Thumbs Up For Usher!
8701 - Usher
Member Name: blonde_girl774
8701 - Usher
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“Intro Lude” is the first track up on the album and only 44 seconds long, it seems to be a regular occurrence of the majority of American artists to open their albums with an interlude or introduction. It’s simply a message from Usher to his fans, assuring them he hasn’t forgotten about them and now he’s back with this offering of an album. This follows smoothly into the second track on the album “U Remind Me” which is a brilliant song in my opinion. It’s got a cool beat running underneath it throughout with slightly soulful sounding hip lyrics. The message within it is typically how you often choose your partner based on the fact they remind you of an ex, and in this instance as in most, it’s not an ideal situation really. “You remind me of a girl, that I, once knew, see her face whenever I, I look at you, won’t believe all the things she put me through, this is why I just can’t get with you.”
“I Don’t Know” features P Diddy and as such that reflects the general mood of the track, it’s much more gritty sounding and core hip hop than the previous track. It’s very catchy and ideal for any r n b club as it would be a great one to dance to. “I don’t know what you came to do girl, what you came to do tonight, but I came to party.” The fourth track on the album is “Twork It Out” and has a much more relaxed feel to it than “I Don’t Know.” It’s something that would be classic Craig David in his current era, it’s very smooth and with a certain hint of sultry-ness also. It reminds me slightly of Craig David’s “7 days” but is much softer and melodic in a sense. A classic love song without the soppy sentiments to it, in fact it’s much more raunchy than that “Now that I got you all soaking wet, I bet you know what’s coming next, gonna twork it out.”
“U Got It Bad” is next up and possibly my favourite track on the album, for anyone that’s ever suffered a bit of heartbreak in the time you’ll certainly recognise the feelings expressed in this track. The vocals in this track are brilliant, there’s times when they are purely acoustic with the minimum amount of backing music showing how effortless singing is to him. “When you say that you love em, and you really know, that everything that used to matter, it don’t matter no more.” Next up is “Pop Ya Collar” which is a more upbeat track ideal for cool club music, it’s got a great beat that’s fairly quick throughout it and even hints of jazz music in the background as well. The lyrics are quick and jumpy which create an impatient and energised feel, “Hey ladies, hey fellas, you know you’re doing good cos they’re jealous, only hate you cos you’re a go-getta.”
“If I Want To” follows on from the previous track with a classic Ashanti / Ja Rule type feel to the track. The music is fairly upbeat in the opening yet fades out to allow the rather slowed down lyrics to come in. The chorus is brilliant in this, “If I wanted I could take ya from your man, please believe it with my eyes closed, I could have you eating out the palm of my hand.” There’s quite a quirky feel to this track which also shows an element of sophistication that hasn’t really been evident on the previous tracks. “I Can’t Let You Go” summons up imagines of a mellow and relaxed track, well I was wrong! It’s very emotive and is surely expressing feelings that the majority of people will have felt in the past yet it expresses them in an upbeat way so that you don’t feel sorry for yourself! “So much love and hurt and hate, and people screaming it won’t work, time and time I say I’m gonna leave, but I can’t let you go.”
“U Don’t Have To” is another fairly upbeat, hip hop sounding track. It’s almost a sharp contrast to the mood of the previous song, it’s more concerned with the fact that when you’re in a relationship you need some trust for it to work and therefore, “You don’t have to call, it’s okay girl, cos I’m gonna be alright tonight.” It’s got quite a pop feel to it and may not have been out of place on one of Blue’s former releases. “Without You” is basically the interlude for the following song, the music is very soft and smooth throughout. It lasts under a minute before following on into the actual track called “Can You Help Me” which is also fighting its place for my favourite track on the album. His voice flows effortlessly over the music, changing in both speed and tempo yet remaining even throughout. “Can you help me, tell me why you wanna leave, baby help me, without you my whole world is falling apart and I’m going crazy, life’s a prison when you’re in love alone.” Brilliant track!
Next up is “How Do I Say” which has a strong Latino/Spanish feel to it, Jennifer Lopez would maybe have been more at home singing this. However it’s not he case, Usher does a brilliant job of toning down his voice and giving it a more wholesome melodic feel to it. “How do I say hello, when I just wanna talk to you, how do I say you’re beautiful, when I can’t take my eyes off you.” “Hottest Thing” is up next and upon the opening I was worried it was going to be some hard core ghetto track but I was pleasantly surprised. It echoes all his tracks on the album, it’s smooth and sophisticated and also shows that his voice does have range to it – he can go very low! “Oh you’re the hottest thing, in the club tonight, having visions of making love tonight with you.”
“Good Ol’ Ghetto” is the penultimate track on the album and if I’m honest it’s my least favourite track on the album. It takes rather a while to get going and once it does I can’t help feel that the beat is rather monotone throughout and as such there doesn’t really seem to be any progression with the track. “Hey Yo Hey Yo ain't nothing like some good ol' ghetto, Hey Yo Hey Yo Hey Yo Hey Yo ain't nothing like some good ol' ghetto ask somebody.” The last track on the album is “U-Turn” which is quite a good one to finish with, it’s fairly upbeat so gives a great ending to the album. “Put your hands up, bend your knees, bounce around in a circle, get down wit me.”
I personally really like this album and think that it is his best one to date. Every track has got an element of life to it and there’s no track that merely echoes a previous one or a track that is rather energy lacking. It’s a really energising album in my opinion with something for every mood, although the overall feel to the album is fairly upbeat. There’s a great mixture of producers also on this album including input from The Neptunes, Baby Face and P Diddy. And although this was produced over 4 years ago now it still stands the test of time in my opinion. If you like any of Usher’s other work then you’ll certainly find something to satisfy you on this album.
Summary: The third album release from Usher back in 2001.