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A colleague of mine at work got me a copy of this album. I am a huge Usher fan from back in the days of from his first few albums with 'My Way', 'You Make me Wanna', 'Nice n Slow' plus 'You Remind Me', 'You Got it Bad', 'U-Turn and Yeah that made him the popular artist.
I thought 'Here I stand' was different from what he has done previously and showed him in a new light, grown up along with what has gone on in his personal life, finding love, getting married and having a son - all reflected in his tracks 'Before I Met You', 'Lifetime' and 'Here I Stand' plus 'Prayer for you' for his son.
The most hyped up track was 'Love in this club' which is the most popular single from this album with a great video to match although we do not see so much of Usher's popular dance moves like in previous videos 'Yeah' and 'U-Turn' that made him ever so popular with his fans.
My favourite tracks off 'Here I Stand' are 'Moving Mountains', 'What's a Man to Do' and 'Will work for Love'.
The tracks on this album showcase his great vocal ability and show his range of versatility as an artist with collaborations with Will.I.am in 'What's your name', with Jay-Z in Best Thing, Young Jeezy, Beyonce and Lil Wayne on 'Love in this club'.
It's a great album and I'm sure Usher fans and other listeners will appreciate it alike.
©marina321 Dooyoo November 2008; Ciao.com November 2008; Ciao.co.uk November 2008
Usher...no not the person who opens your doors or tells you which side of the church to sit on, we're talking about the 29 year old pop/r'n'b singer from Texas. He first brought attention to himself back in the 90s with the hit song, 'You Make Me Wanna' (charting at #2) and then went on to have big chart success with 8 more number 1's, appearred in a few films and even went on to star on Broadway in 'Chicago'. Arguably his biggest single to date was 'Yeah!' (charting at #1, and staying there for 6 weeks) from his 2004 album 'Confessions'.
4 years later, comes his 5th studio album 'Here I Stand', not selling as well as his last, but still doing reasonably well none the less. Although it seems he peaked with his latter album, oh well. The original track line up included work with Timbaland and Mario Winans, but strangely, they never made it onto the album. Maybe that's testament to the quality of the album, as surely the other tracks must be good, or they wouldn't need work by such prolific industry big shots...ah hem...let's pretend we didn't say that and move swiftly on.
This album has been described as Usher's take on growing up and becoming a man. His previous efforts were hailed more as the 'fun' Usher - having nights out, enjoying himself, but with 'Here I Stand' we hear a more intimate reflection and self analysis of the man he has become. Joy!
1) Forever Young 4.23
This song instantly introduces to the 'new' sophisticated Usher. And, indeed he does sound like a more diverse performer as he confidently takes us through this ballad, with dips and caresses of a more bluesy number, that leaves echoes of the way that Christina Aguilera gave a more heart felt approach to her album 'Stripped'.
2) Love In The Club (feat. Young Jeezy) 4.19
And it just goes downhill from there. Sorry, ok, yes this was his first single, but it's so bland and generic sounding and choral sentiment is laughable - he wants to make love in this club? What is he, some kinky exhibitionist? Although, I can't say I wouldn't mind copping a load of Usher in his skimpies, but puh-lease, the thought of him doing the rudies in a club, quite frankly makes me want to be sick. The overall sound is like a ballad thrown on top of an R'n'B mid tempo hash. Rubbish!
3) This Ain't Sex 4.24
A lot more soulful with licks of beats, that make this track much more steady and bop-your-head-along-esque. Usher, seeming to be somewhat nympho, tells us how he doesn't have sex, but rather...he 'makes' love...well quite frankly dear, anyone who wants have sex in public places, namely a sweaty club, has to go a long way to convince us that he a gentleman who corrects the terminology and reference to love making. (I also like how he eloquently uses the word 'aint')
4) Trading Places 4.28
Now, if you didn't agree that Usher has a one track mind, this song should confirm it. Again we have here a mid tempo song, a few notches up from a ballad. But, instead of perhaps (considering the title) expecting some rhetoric about class divide or the struggle for financial freedom, think again, as with 'trading places', Usher is referring to 'top' or 'bottom'...delightful.
5) Moving Mountains 4.00
O joy, another slow one, with an essence of trying to be a credible, beaty track. Vocally, he sounds whiny and miles away from the so-called 'mature' Usher. Hmmm. This is his second single from the album...never mind!
6) What's Your Name (feat. Will.I.Am) 3.58
This is probably the first interesting track on the album, thanks to the dabblings of Black Eyed Peas' front man, Will.I.Am. It has a more rounded and developed sound, sythny with drips of r'n'b but with a more overall experimental feel. Not incredibly memorable, but still, probably one of the best so far on the album.
7) Prayer for You Interlude 1.43
Where's the bucket? Who the blinky blonky thought it would be a good idea to hear a baby grumbling and crying on a track? Just when you thought you couldn't stand to hear babies cry, they go and put it on his record, nice! The baby is question, is Usher's son, who has obviously given him enough joy to include him on the record, that is obviously dedicated to him. Some people will call it cute, I call it annoying. If I wanted to know about his babies, I would read OK! Magazine! Get on with bringing us the good records please mr.Usher, enough of this 'I have a baby and will sing to him' shananagins!
8) Something Special 3.57
Before I heard this, judging by the content of the album thus far, I thought, I bet I know what this song is about...shock horror I was wrong. The something special isn't what he's hiding down his pants, he's singing about the relationship he has with his lady, hurrah! This one sounds much more acoustic. Think Extreme's 'More Than Words', but slightly faster, with an r'n'b flair...and oh yeah, nowhere near as good!
9) Love You Gently 3.39
O goodie...another ballad...what happened to the songs along the ilk of 'Yeah!'...sappy nonsense this is! No prizes for guessing the theme of this number...next track please...bored now!
10) Best Thing (feat. Jay-Z) 3.54
Ok, that's better, he's picked up the pace a bit, but not by too much. With the help of Mr.Beyonce this track is certainly a few cuts above the mindless drivvle we've heard so far. Ok, so that's a bit harsh, but this one does stand out so far. Althogugh I have heard much better collaborations with Jay-Z, maybe he doesn't want to give too much away?
11) Before I Met You 4.56
This song isn't bad, but I don't know, maybe I've grown to instantly dislike every song on the album before I hear them. The chorus is catchy and he sounds much stronger vocally, but there's something about this song that makes me think that I've heard it before. Unless of course it is a cover, but in any case, it's not as good as I feel it should be.
12) His Mistakes 4.59
What is it with all these 5 minute songs? Value? Yes. Quality? Hmm. Surprise surprise, another slow one, again a notch above you're typical ballad, but still I'm left wondering when I'm going to hear something that is distinctively different from everything else, or that makes me sit up and think 'what an artist!'
13) Appetite 3.58
Ok, this is a step forward. A faster track with more dance potential, but still not quite up there. Lyrically, believe it or not, the ever reserved Usher is singing to us about his appetite for the ladies. Whether or not this is a purposefully lead campaign to clear up and confusion over his sexuality, what with the ambiguity of his 'top' or 'bottom' dilemma in track4, it still doesn't have that most important message of 'Listen up, I am a singing force to be reckoned with, move over Mr.Jackson'. (I'm referring to Michael, incase anyone thought I meant Randy...you know you thought it!)
14) What's a Man to Do 4.09
I like this one, about time really. It reminds me of Rihanna's song 'Hate How Much I Love You'. It has an overall ballad approach, but disguised rather skillfully into a much better paced song. There are highs and lows that give light and shade, giving this track more complexity than most on the album so far. Vocally sound, yet lyrically dull. We were nearly there though!
15) Revolver 3.16
Is this about a gun, or someone who likes to turn on the spot a lot? There is far too much falsetto on this song, making Usher sound like he's in a competition with Mr.Timberlake. He tells us how a close personal lady friend of his, is like a Revolver, because she's spiteful and can cut him up. Why waste the time writing a song about it then...especially if it's not that good!
16) Lifetime 4.36
This is getting ridiculous. More sappy and slow drivvle. Skip skip skip
17) Love In This Club pt2 (feat. Beyonce, Lil Wayne and Young Jezzy) 5.09
In case we didn't hear his fetish loud and clear last time, here he comes again, with a whole 309 seconds (yes, I can add up) of it. This time enlisting the help of more 'rent-an-artist' friends, in the name of Mrs.Jay Z (of course I mean Beyonce) and someone called Wayne (who is little apparently) and some other Jezzy. So what have we learnt? Well, it would appear that Usher needs to fill his album and this is the only way he can feel fit do so. Shame. If you want to know what I thought of it, reread what I wrote for Track2, but imagine a slow and painful death at the same time. That should sum it up.
18) Here I Stand 4.10
This song is slow, sappy and far too sentimental than is good for an album, comprising of such things. However, paradoxically, I like it. Which is lucky, as it is the album's title track, there is always a strange sense of pressure for those songs to be good'uns. I would rather this song was sung by a group such as 'Boys2Men' as I think they would do a better job, but all in all, it's really not that bad...if you like that kind of thing...which I don't really...strange, n'est pas?
19) Will Work for Love 3.16
For Lordy's sake Usher, will you just be quiet already! Ok, that is harsh too, as this song isn't that bad, but guess what, it isn't that great! Its far too self righteous and oozing with mistaken sensibilities of 'I am a grown up, I will make things work for me, I will love rightly' - whatever Usher! Blah blah blah...just sing us a song that we can tap our feet too and not need to go on a course of prozak to lift our spirits!
Album rating: 4/10 (he gets an extra point for being pretty)
So, what have we learnt today?
Since listening to this album, I've learnt that Usher doesn't do good music anymore. I've learnt that Usher has a strange penchant for exhibitionism and may be doing far too many rudies out of doors (especially in nightclubs) than is legal. I've learnt that Beyonce probably got jealous (no idea why) that her husband did a song with Usher, so she had to do one too. I've also learnt that I regret not borrowing this album before I bought it, thus saving myself a tener. I've learnt that 19 is really too high a number for the amount of tracks on such a poor album. Oh, and I've also learnt that Usher has a son, and that I couldn't care less.
Thanks for reading :)
© MarcoG 2008
Usher is predominantly an R&B artist although there are other influences in his music. Even if you're not into R&B, chances are you'll have heard many of his tracks, particularly those in softer soul-style.
"Here I Stand" is a 2008 release. As with his previous album, "Confessions", it is reported that various tracks are auto-biographical, the most apparent of which is "What's a Man to Do".
The album has the most unlikely start. A Broadway-style vocal introduction sets the scene in a story-like manner. It's not really what you expect from Usher's commercial offerings but perhaps meanders back to his stage experience in "Chicago". The mood here is black and leaves you wondering whether this is going to be an enjoyable album, but, as we reach climax, the mood lightens and we get what we paid for, a commercial Usher.
The second track provided Usher's first official single from the album and also the first track on the album to feature another artist, Young Jeezey. Radios have given much airtime to this track, "Love in this Club" and it's up-tempo beat together with catchy chorus will have you singing along in no time. It's probably not got the clubbing staying power of "Yeah" but it's certainly worthy of it's No1 status.
Tracks 3 and 4 are rather dull. Stand-alone singles they are not. Neither "This Ain't Sex" nor "Trading Places" seem worthy of this album. The electronic beat of "This Ain't Sex" is replaced with a piano in "Trading Places" but both tracks are long and, although perhaps reflecting Usher's newly married status, don't really hit the mark.
"Moving Mountains" is a different matter entirely. This is heart and soul Usher with superb slow vocals. There's effort in this track and a desire that was lost in the previous tracks.
"What's Your Name?" hits rock bottom again (despite a guest from Will.i.am), in my opinion and I'm always grateful when it's over as it means that it's time for the absolutely brilliant interlude - "Prayer for you". Every time I hear this track I find myself wondering whether the baby crying in the background is, indeed, junior, and it is at this point the album turns. Usher has reached his "lightbulb moment" and seems to leave his past behind in favour of a more family orientated life. It's at moments like this that one gives credence to the autobiographical nature of the album.
"Something Special" really is. There's a degree of sincerity in this upbeat track talking of life and love. There's an almost country feel to the track which seems to harness the meaning of the words.
We travel down again for "Love You Gently" a rather dull, slow track which has little to commend it before rising again to "Best Thing". "Best Thing" features Jay-Z and is almost a retrograde step in terms of style. It's Usher before marriage and its hip hop style is simply fab. I'm not sure that it works in the album where it is placed as it seems rather out of kilter with the story being told but I'm glad it's there nonetheless.
"Before I Met You", "His Mistakes" and "Appetite" follow, slowly building up the pace as we progress through the tracks. They are all acceptable but seem rather like fillers on the album. If I were Usher's wife I'd not be too impressed with the lyrics on "Appetite" but, maybe given Usher's track record, I shouldn't be surprised at the references to infidelity.
The style changes again with the next track, "What's a Man to Do" which has a rather different feel to it. At this point I'm clamoring for another dance track, but what I get is a mid-tempo affair. The song is fair and, placed elsewhere in the album I might quite like it, but it doesn't work here.
"Lifetime" follows. It's not really my cup of tea, but it does tell me that one of the best remixes is about to follow. "Love in This Club Part II" is simply awesome and a worthy remix on an album. It's slightly slower than the original with guesting by Beyonce and Lil Wayne. As a track in it's own right its focus shifts from the original club to the love. I can't see it peaking as a single but I think I prefer it to the original.
The title track, "Here I Stand" is a slow ballad with piano backing. This is Usher opening up and asking to be accepted for who he is. It's a classy track, more old-crooner, than old-skool. For me the track is a little shallow and it lacks the sincerity that we saw in "Something Special" or "Moving Mountains".
"Will Work For Love" follows and for me, this is a highlight of the album. It's a bonus track which really should have been in the main body of the album. It's catchy toe-tapping feel leaves you with a very positive feeling.
THE BOTTOM LINE
This album is a bit of a roller-coaster. For me, the high points make up for the lows and I'm prepared to bear the weaker tracks just to get to the good stuff. It's similar in many respects to "Confessions" as an album. The tracks do flow (with some notable exceptions) and again we're taken on a journey. Where that journey ends up is, perhaps, questionable.
I think the album works as a complete piece and would rather buy the album than download selected tracks as I feel, with the exception of the two "Love in this Club"s that they stand better in context than alone.
I was initially dissapointed with this CD upon first hearing, the dissapointment grew less as i listened to it further but it did not make my favourite CD list. I was expecting another 'Confessions' (previous released CD by Usher) which i thoroughly enjoyed from start to finish but soon realised that obviously alot has changed for him as so his songs have changed too. Here I stand is a more grown up atempt from Usher and is very different from his previous efforts. Its much slower and does not have many songs that have memorability. There are a few good tracks in 'Love in this club' and 'Love in this club part2' but the rest fade into the blackhole of forgetable music. Definatly one i regret purchasing, of course this is not everones view but if you enjoyed Confessions, try to get a listen of this one before parting with your cash!
I also have this review on Ciao
Usher is very talented as an artist to take the road quickly traveled. And as a modern R&B legend, it is unfortunate that Usher did not spend more time surveying the lyrical and sonic ground that "Here I Stand" stands upon. Even in this era of calculated marketing, such missteps are striking, not only because he is R&B royalty, but because the material does his vocals an injustice, by placing them on a plot of sinking sand. But whatever.
Like Barry White, Jodeci, and R. Kelly before him, R&B superstar Usher is the master of music.
Usher's biggest hit (2004) of his career thus far, "Yeah!" The single hit makes 9 million sales and making "Confessions" Usher's best selling album to date.
Till then, Usher has been involved in projects largely outside music, mainly acting both on stage and on the big screen. Apart from appearances on singles by Lil Jon and last year's "Same Girl" with R. Kelly.
It has been 3 years since we've heard new material from Usher.
Usher's album "Here I Stand"
2. Love In This Club Ft. Young Jeezy
3. This Ain't Sex
4. Trading Places
5. Moving Mountains
6. What's Your Name? Ft. Will.I.Am
7. Prayer For You (Interlude)
8. Something Special
9. Love You Gently
10. Best Thing
11. Before I Met You
12. His Mistakes
14. What's A Man To Do?
16. Love In This Club Part 2 Ft. Beyonce & Lil Wayne
17. Here I Stand
18. Will Work For Love
The album actually follows it's own form of growth and development as it progresses.
The opening track, "Love In This Club", is dealing with seeing a girl at the club and lusting after her.
Tracks like "Moving Mountains", "Lifetime" and "Here I Stand" are dedications to a woman and a steady relationship. The former is a heartfelt apology for acting out, whilst the latter tracks are more thankful in nature.
Tracks which are worth listening.
Well there are some of the tracks that I enjoyed, with pleasure, more than the others.
"Trading Places" as its a different and much better from the rest, dealing with a change in of the accepted roles between men and women when it comes to love. Kind of what Ciara's "Like A Boy" should have been, but done in a more passive manner.
"His Mistakes" is a track that should get nine out of ten. Backed by signature Stargate production, the track deals with a relationship being hurt by the actions of a previous lover.
Tracks which are not that good.
"This Ain't Sex" and "Love You Gently" feel out of place on the album.
"This Ain't Sex" comes off as ground covered before, it doesn't seem to quite match the level of the album.
"Love You Gently" isn't a bad song in itself, but it's placing on the album seems to kill the momentum that was building. And is more slower than other tracks.
While, "What's Your Name?" feat. Will.I.Am. is completely unworthy and ultimately lazy cameo, combined with a beat that sounds like a throw away from Elephunk and you've got the worst track on the album.
Tracks with Guest appearance.
Guest appearances have increased the material and variety of Usher's album tracks. Nutured them in a special way."Moving Mountains",
"What's A Man To Do?".
While coz of guests the rating is finally adding up to the songs, rather than lowing it down. Jay-Z performance in the song has just breaks out a rapid flow that he hasn't done for a number of years now on "Best Thing".
Beyonce and Lil Wayne showed up in "Love In This Club Part 2". Beyonce's vocal work helps enhance the more mellow mood of the track.and Lil Wayne comes out his extremely high flow combined with the vocoder and makes a perfect entertaining verse.
So finally I would say that soundtracks of this album is worth listening.
Usher has got to be one of the only R&B artists that I have followed when it comes down to this kind of music and I can actually say that I have never got fed up of the music that he has produced, he has got to be one of the finest and most long standing R&B singers about today.
Here I Stand is Usher's fifth album and I must admit I thought Confessions would take a lot of beating however this particular album is absolutely fantastic if you like this kind of music. I bought the album when Love In This Club was released as I heard the track being played quite a lot on the radio and I did take a liking to straight away and it has got be one of the best tracks on the album and in my opinion, I quite think it could be one of the best he has ever produced. Its a really catchy track and couldn't imagine many people disliking the album.
Although this album does follow the same format as other albums that Usher has produced, with the variety of sexual comments and quite decsriptive in places, his music does seem to have mellowed a little as he has got older and some of the songs seem a lot more about relationships rather than the impression of one night stands. I first thought this when I listened to Something Special, which has become one of my favourite tracks on the album. It goes though the motions that he has found someone that he really loves and can take on the world as long as they are together.
The album still has the Intro as do all Usher albums, that what make it unqiue to Usher and wouldn't be the same if they didn't have them on no more. This is a fantastic album that I feel have taken Usher to the next leve, both in his music career and possibly another stage within his life.
- Love In This Club
- This Ain't Sex
- Trading Places
- Moving Mountains
- What's Your Name
- Prayer For You
- Something Special
- Love You Gently
- Best Thing
- Before I Met You
- His Mistakes
- What's A Man To Do
- Love in this Club Part II
- Here I Stand
Following the release of his previous album Confessions Usher Raymond has got married and also become a father. Now aged 29 he releases his fifth studio album and one of the most anticipated album releases of the 21st century so far. This album charts the time between Confessions and brings you right up to The present day.
Album production comes from some stellar names as you would expect as Usher produces along with longtime contributor Jermaine Dupri and also from new partnerships with producers like Will I am, Polow Da Don and Bryan Michael Cox who worked with Usher on Confessions Pt2.
**Here I Stand**
This is a short introduction to the album and opens with an orchestra and then a pounding drum which stops and then a classical piano comes in with Usher's voice sounding so emotive as he sings his way through the lyrics. This get's the album off to a great start.
2.) Love In This Club
This is this albums equivalent to Usher's massive hit "Yeah". This track is about the moment when you are in a club with someone you are really attracted to and want to get down to business with them. This has a great beat and the vocals flow through the track brilliantly.
3.) This Ain't Sex
This is a great mid tempo track which Usher performed on some TV shows arouhnd the world in the build up to the album. This is about making love on another level than sex. A real connection between the two of you. This song is so catchy and is one of the funkiest tracks on Here I Stand.
4.) Trading Places
This opens with a pounding drum beat and then a piano comes in. I love the way the drum beat moves along throught the song and this is a great track about giving something back to your partner and doing things for them that they have done for you. More songs should be like this.
5.) Moving Mountains
This was the first song I heard from the album before it was released as this was one of the first comfirmed tracks that would be on Here I Stand when it was uploaded on his Myspace page on 21st May. This track is essentially a ballad but has a great beat that reminds me of Justin Timberlake's My Love in the way the two different sounds fuse together,
6.) What's your name
This track is a funky electro number which features Will I Am from The Black Eyed Peas. This is a really upbeat funky track which has a great feel to it. This would be a great club hit if it was released as a single, As you would expect from Will I am this is a funky hip hop track.
7.) Prayer for you (Interlude)
This is a gorgeous interlude which features Usher's baby son crying and then Usher singing to his baby son in an amazing falsetto which sounds so tender and emotive. A Great tribute to his son.
8.) Something Special
This is a great track that is one of the older sounding tracks on the album, This has a funky guitar and although it isnt as good as the very best on the album it is still a great track that has great appeal to any of his fans.
9.) Love you gently
This is a good track which features Usher sounding like finds singing so easy. This is a great track for all that is going on in the track, A big beat with the light touch of the piano. Not the best but not bad at all.
10.) Best Thing
This is a duet with Jay Z and it features Jay Z opening the track withb his very distinctive voice. This is such a catchy song which gives you the urge to dance. This could become a dance hit too if it is released as a single.
11.) Before I Met You
This is a track that's music has hints of what to me sounds like a games soundtrack preferably a car game. This is another track that would be a good idea, In this song he talks to his wife about his life before she came along.
12.) His Mistakes
This track is one of my favourite of the hangers on. This track is about telling your new partner that you are not like their ex who cheated on them and treated them badly. This song doesnt have that isntant sparl of the best though. Paying for someone else's mistakes.
This is a really interesting track as it opens with a great authorative intro. This is about Usher struggling with his playa past as he settles down. A great track that has a great message to anyone
14.) What's a man to do
This is the most poppy track on the album, the guitar sounds like it came off a pop record. Probably the albums worst song even hoih. This does have a great flow to it and the combo of drum beat and acoustic guitar makes this track one of the nost i
This is about a relationship that isnt working out and causing heartache for you. A grea track which has a catchy feel but keeps the emotive quality of the subject to great effect and Usher's vocals are superb as they are throughout the album.
This is a gorgeous up tempo track which features Usher moving in and out of a gorgeous falsetto and with the thom, Some gteay stories of lust and relatinshuo,]
17) Love In This Club Py2
This is a remix version of the great lead single. This version features Beyonce Knowles and Lil Wayne. This is a great track that has enough about it to be seperated from the original version and be included on this album.
18) Here I Stand
This is a lovely ballad that has an old style feel. Usher sounds amazing in this superb ballad. This is about Usher's life as he sees it at the moment of recording the album and what he feels about his wife and son. A gorgeous track in every way.
19.) Will Work for love
This is a superb end to Here I Stand. This track tells the tale of a heartbroken Man trying to find love. One of the most unique tracks Usher has done and superbly worked. This is a real treat at the end of a very good album indeed.
There we are, Nineteen tracks on Here I Stand and not one Bad Apple in the whole album. Usher seems to be able to record so many great tracksm for every album. 17 for 8701, 21 for Confessions and now 19 for Here I Stand. This album is really worth listening right through which you can't say that about many albums. There are unlikely to be many better albums released this year. Usher is set to stay one of the biggest stars in music for some years to come, that is for certain.
Spring 2007, and Usher breaks his silence by making an appearance on the track 'Same Girl' with R Kelly and giving gossip blogs on the internet a ridiculous amount of hits with the revelation that he shall be releasing his fifth studio album in November. From that moment on there seemed to be an endless trail of new music from the man himself leaking out of the studio, with fans being very critical how it doesn't sound like something that would have made 'Confessions'. But then again, how did Usher ever really expect to follow-up his 2004 studio album that sold nearly as many copies as all his previous albums put together and topped charts around the world? Being the biggest R&B artist on the planet was certainly about to put a huge onus on Usher Raymond IV to perform on 'Here I Stand'.
With countless delays in an effort to get the sound exactly right, 'Here I Stand' will finally receive its release on May 27th, 2008 -- a mere four years, two months and four days after 'Confessions'. This delay has nothing to do with Usher attempting to slowdown now he is approaching his 30th birthday in October this year, but rather all the hurdles in his personal life he has had to contend with. Usher was scheduled to marry Tameka Foster in July 2007, however the ceremony was abrupty cancelled sparking rumours of a split, only for them to marry in a smaller ceremony a month later. Usher then became a father to Usher Raymond V in November 2007, clearly they take the family name very seriously. In January '08, Usher's father (III) passed away -- this coincided with the release of Usher's fragrances for men and women, 'He' and 'She'.
01, Intro (1.28), 5*
02, Love in this Club ft. Young Jeezy (4.20), 5*
If you've read any of my previous reviews, you would know how critical I am over introductions to albums. 'Intro' is the simply titled beginning to 'Here I Stand', and you will likely be surprised by Usher's vocals on the track. The dramatic performance is likely to be inspired by his broadway experience, having taken on the role of Billy Flynn in 'Chicago' during 2006. The track gives you the impression that the album is going to be hard-hitting, but in the last ten seconds you can feel the sun coming through the clouds and that there will also be a light-hearted element to the album. 'Love in this Club' shocked many with its chart performance by becoming Usher's eigth US Billboard #1 and showing there is still an audiance out there that loves Usher. This was also Young Jeezy's first number one, although he only makes an appearance as a featured artist -- coincidently Young Jeezy also appeared on a very well received track on Mariah Carey's new album, another artist who struggled to top their 2004 album. Whilst I did not feel it was as an immediate hit as 'Yeah' was, in the club at the moment there isn't a track that will get a bigger cheer than this. If it will still be played in the clubs in five years time like 'Yeah' is, that is another question all together. 'That Girl Right There' ft. Ludacris was originally rumoured to be the first single off the album, although the track was dropped altogether and claimed to just be a promotional aid. The opening six minutes are as close to perfection as an album has ever been.
"All you gotta do is tell me what you sippin' on."
03, This Ain't Sex (4.24), 3*
04, Trading Places (4.28), 3*
05, Moving Mountains (4.58), 5*
Let me give you a small insight into some of the tracks that were left off the album, a couple of note were 'Painter' and 'Flash'. Considering these drew inspiration for lyrics from suggesting 'I'm not a flash in the pan' and asking 'Will you paint me a picture?' it's a surprise that there are so many slightly uninspired left on the project. 'This Ain't Sex' and 'Trading Places' are tracks that will never make it as standalone singles because they go on a little long and aren't exactly radio-friendly. These tracks aren't love making music, but perhaps they do fit into Usher's new vision of married life and he's trying to mix their relationship up a little bit. I feel it would be too inappropriate to even put the lyrics for 'Trading Places' in bold, so I'll just finish this paragraph with, "Ima put it in your ass." A tip for his first anniversary, apparently. 'Moving Mountains' I got really excited about as I heard it featured an appearance from Timbaland, and I couldn't think of any moments when I'd heard of these two artists working together -- not in the modern history of Timbaland's recent revival anyway. I'm not sure where Timbaland actually fits in though, as he is not on the production credits. Instead, you see the name The-Dream as a producer, which is not an unusual sight in 2008. The-Dream has worked with every big artist, and on every large album, so far this year and is poised for his big breakthrough any day now. Rather than singing about sexual positions, 'Moving Mountains' literally feels as though Usher is putting in the effort of moving mountains to bring us what will without a doubt be his ninth US Billboard #1. The video even carries directly on from 'Love in this Club'.
06, What's Your Name? ft. Will.i.am (3.58), 4*
07, Prayer For You (Interlude) (1.43), 5*
08, Something Special (3.57), 3*
'What's Your Name' feels to me as though it is the male-version of Mariah's 'Can I Get Your Number?' off her Mimi album. I usually feel left out in the cold by Will.i.am featured appearances, but fortunately this track is more about Usher and benefits from this. "I'll do my best to be there for you everyday, to be what my father wished he was to me."'Prayer For You' is the interlude that sums up Usher's current intentions, and I am not sure if the baby crying in the background his computer generated or straight from the fifths mouth, but the track is almost 'magical' in bringing together three generations of the family. 'Something Special' is R&B with a country/acoustic guitar edge, and you feel the album is in a family-friendly place for the first time ever, and is more than likely a tribute to his current three-member family.
09, Love You Gently (3.39), 1*
10, Best Thing ft. Jay-Z (3.54), 3*
11, Before I Met You (4.56), 2*
Unfortunately, 'Love You Gently' is boring and best left unspoken. Luckily the reverse can be said of 'Best Thing' that oozes the charisma of Jay-Z immediately, the rap billionaire. Hearing the pair collaborate on a song almost sounds like the old Usher, as though him and Jay went for a night out without Tameka and Beyonce. The album would not be complete without a production appearance from B Cox on 'Before I Met You', as the pair have worked together on all of Usher's biggest hits including 'Burn' and 'U-Turn'. Maybe B Cox has spent too much time working with Day26 though, as the track comes off more as a one man boyband.
12, His Mistakes (4.59), 4*
13, Appetite (3.58), 5*
14, What's a Man to Do (4.09), 3*
Usher has been out of the scene for so long it maybe hard to believe that he has not yet worked with Ne-Yo, who took over the R&B scene whilst Usher wasn't around with two albums in two years. Usher clearly sings exactly what Ne-Yo has written for him, and in the same way as Ne-Yo has told him to sing it. 'His Mistakes (I Can't Win)' is perfect if you're looking for a soppy ballad. Danja makes his one appearance on the album having been on every huge track last year, and it's looking to go the same way this year with 'Migrate' (Mariah Carey), 'Break the Ice' (Britney Spears) and now 'Appetite'. You can tell Usher's a married man now when he's singing about his wife cooking at home, but having an appetite for another lady. With Usher's track record of being unfaithful I wouldn't feel that great about this track if I was Tameka, but luckily for her she's probably never cooked a meal in her life. 'What's a Man to Do' sounds more like a Jojo ('Leave, get out') track than an Usher track at the beginning, and whilst as a ballad it's not that bad, you do get the feeling it's about time for another hardhitting club track. "When I look in the mirror, it's the same old me, that my heart is in two different places."
15, Lifetime (4.36), 1*
16, Love in this Club, Part II ft. Beyonce and Lil Wayne (5.09), 3*
'Lifetime', awful. 'Love in this Club' on the other hand is probably one of the most surprising remixes in a long time, as Beyonce and Lil Wayne make an appearance on a fullyfledged revamp of the original. The track is even peforming incredibly well on the US Billboard, currently peaking at #18. This track is more about the 'love' than the 'club'.
17, Here I Stand (4.10), 4*
18, Will Work For Love (3.16), 4*
'Here I Stand' was always a very open and honest title for an album, asking people to take Usher for what he is and no longer having any secrets. Of course Usher got all them off his chest in 'Confessions'. The track sounds more like a suited and booted Usher standing up next to a piano at a dinner party and singing his heart out. Just lacks some emotion. 'Will Work For Love' is a bonus track that is worthy of being named a fullyfledged track as Usher does his Oliver impression, although he wants love instead of food. "Excuse me mister, I fell on hard times, I need some help."'
In 2001, Usher had everyone dancing with a long-string of tracks using the abbreviation 'U' instead of the world 'you'. 2004 Usher makes all the teenage girls wish their boyfriends were more emotionally involved, not to mention the six-pack. Now it's 2008 and Young Jeezy is bagging girls like groceries and Usher's there with a ring on his finger. 'Here I Stand' does feel like a more grown-up project, but at 30 years old I don't think we can be writing Usher off as a pensioner just yet.
iTunes deluxe edition also includes 'Revolver', 'Love in this Club' (Remix) ft. T.I. and 'Chivalry' ft. Jermain Dupri.
"Here I Stand" is the fifth album by the R&B artist, Usher it follows the massive success of his 2004 album "Confessions" which when 9X Platinum. So it was huge, since then he has settled down and is married and he feels as though this has been a coming-of-age experience, and you can tell in comparison to "8701", two albums ago, he sounds much more mature and the nature of his songs is just like this too.
2. Love In This Club (feat. Young Jeezy)
It took a while for me to really feel this track, because on the first few listens, I didn't like it, but it suddenly hit me when I hear it at the most appropriate moment ever, and now it gives me a deja-vu every time I hear it. This may have brought a bias to my opinons on it though, but as I reached the top of the Billboards, I bet it truley is an amazing song.
I don't like Young Jeezy too much, but his aded lines did have a purpose, to bring out more of the story in the track which it would take too long to come out when sang. What he says is relevant to anyone who is going to the clubs to try and find a girl and he does highlight things which you may otherwise overlook.
3. This Ain't Sex
This track is one of prime examples of showing how the artist has grown up since the previous album as he claims that he doesn't have sex; he makes love.
The track is one for the clubs and leads on very well from the song which proceeeded it. I felt that it sounded like a Ne-Yo song, but I didn't dislike it because of this as it was a nice dance track which doesn't make much effort to get intiamte, its just done in a funky way to make you dance along to.
4. Trading Places
This track reminds me of J. Holiday's "Bed", probably becasue the same team who produced that hit, L.O.S. Da Maestro, did this one. It's almost too similar to it and I felt that the closeness will prevent it from being released as a single in the future.
I felt that the theme of this track was rather interesting as it goes into an area which doesn't seem to get attention a lot, the whole concept of being a gentleman. Basically Usher tells his girl that they are swithcing roles and it's time for the females to take the man out on a date, holding out the doors and pay for everything.
5. Moving Mountains
The video of this track follows on from where the video of his first single from the album did as "Love In This Club" ended on a big cliffhanger, but i won't get into that, because this is about the music.
The hit-making producer who made the music for "Umbrella" appears behind the scenes in this track, Tricky Stewart knows what is required to make a song sell big so I cannot argue with his decision to slow everything here. It sounds like Justin Timberlake's "My Love" at times. However I didn't really like this song I only enjoyed listening to Usher's singing at the choruses, the rest was rather boring.
6. What's Your Name? (feat. will.i.am)
The Black Eyed Peas frontman will.i.am does production and some additional rapping during this track as he has done recently with many R&B acts, so this was expected for an album which is bound to sell big like this. I didn't really like his vocal input though as his style of rapping has become so mainstream that a Hip hop head, such as myself, cannot appreciate it.
The theme of this track can be liken to Jay-Z's "Excuse Me Miss", and its a subject which has been used on many occassions, using this title "What's Your Name?" too. i felt that as usher has settled down, it's not really needed, but I did enjoy listening to his falsetto on the choruses
7. Prayer For You (Interlude)
8. Something Special
This track begins with a good minute of acoustics alongside usher in a track "For the lovers, before JD (Jermaine Dupri) enter with a a soft beat to accompany the guitar an Usher with some excellent vocals (as always). Generally this is just a nice song for people in love as he just expresses the journey which he goes to go on with his girl in the long-term future.
9. Love You Gently
Dre & Vidal, the team behind "Caught Up" from his last album return for this one to do some production. As it is so long since the previous album, you cannot hear any clear likeness to that song, but I wouldn't say that this is a hinderence to it.
I have a suspision that whoever did the writing for this song took inspiration from The-Dream's way of composing songs, using repetiton to make it watered-down for a mainstream audience as J. Holiday's "Bed", Rihanna's "Umbrella" and The-Dream's own "Shawty Is A Ten" and this similarity is clear, but that is what makes it so nice to the ear.
10. Best Thing (feat. Jay-Z)
I can't think of a time in the past where thes two have come together, but the combination of two of the most successful artists from two genres is very successful as you would expect it to be. The inclusion of JD on production just adds to the star which has all the most important elements to make a hit.
The subject of the track is Usher explaining that when a girl left him, his very "Best Thing" wasn't taken away from him. However i don't think that the topic mttered too much because Usher was going to deliver regardless. Listen out for the way he uses his entire vocal range in this single track.
11. Before I Met You
The producer who did one of the most successful tracks, "Confessions (Part II) from the previous albums appears on here providing the beats. After what he came with in 2004, you would expect something just as big, and I think this just may be it.
The set up for this track is simialr for that which was used in Jaheim's "Just In Case", but in this situation he isn't just declaring love, he's confessing to elements of his past which he has kept secret, but at this time growing up he is forced to say what he was like prior to releasing he wanted to settle down.
12. His Mistakes
The R&B star Ne-Yo is on production for this one and it really does sound like the song was mad efor him rather than Ush, but this didn't prevent the Atlanta native from taking what was given to him to make it work for himself.
This is a a soft and slow song and it had to be a part of the album, because it's an R&B Lp, but, it's just not the type of R&B I'm into, so I couldn't get into it at all, but I expect others to.
The producer had a lot of input into this track and his work with Dirty South artists such Lil' Wayne and T.I. has come through here in a Crunk & B form as this is clearly a combination of Crunk and R&B, but it takes a good minute to get into because it starts off slow, but then explodes into a hardcore tune.
The theme of "Before I Met You" kind of follows through into this track as he says this is a true story of attemping to settle his appetite for other women, but is forced not to do so, because he has grown to see that he is aware of what could come from his actions.
14. What's a Man to Do
A Stargate takes over contro of production, Usher comes with a soundtrack-sounding song which seem to work well at summing up the album and the direction that Ush was going with it. I felt that the beat for this was amongst the best that I had heard in the whole of the album and it should be well-received by fans.
I felt that the song before this stared the wind down to the end of the album, and the is just another stage of brignign the album to a close softly without much of an imapct, bu the track which follows this may excite a few.
The production here is done by JLack and it appears to take on lots of elements which are seen as popular today, showing that he knows what people want to hear,and I feel that it's a shame that it was put so far back in the listings as it's as if you too tired to get into this by this stage, so you would have to listen to it separately when you are fresh.
16. Love In This Club (Part II) (feat. Beyoncé and Lil' Wayne)
This is a follow up from the success of the lead song from the album which stormed the charts all over the world. I felt that this was nowhere as good as the original as the beat was completely revamped and slowed down and a couple of guests were introduced. I hav nothing against the king of collabs (Lil Wayne), because he was bound to be on a remix with an artist as popular as this as he hypes up his upcoming "Tha Carter III" and Beyoncé, but they didn't really bring anything new to the track.
17. Here I Stand
I felt that some of the bes tmaterial made for the album was missed out as about ten songs which made it onto the internet and ssome radio stations didn't make the album including "Dat Girl Right There", which I had to comment on. As well as another track which had Pharrell appear on in vocals and for productions with The Neptunes called "Flash"
"Dat Girl Right There" (feat. Ludacris)
The production for this song is very strange, like nothing you will have hear before in any musical genre and the first time I listened to it I really coldn't undrestand therreason for using the synthesizer in such a way to make a wierd rhythm, but now I can feel it more. Don't rule it out after one listen.
It's good to see Luda backing up Ush once again, after the success of "Yeah", and I felt that their chemistry allowed the pair to work together well to create a nice sound, which isn't club-orientated as their last collaborated, it's more of a warm-up to go out.
So it would have been nice to have these as extras, perhaps as bonus track, of which there is one on here, or on some international releases, but this wasn't to be the case.
On the whoile thiis is a good album by Usher, but as I said some of the best tracks weren't included andbecause of this it will probably be the first hit album which T-Pain doesn't have a part in, but at least the other big collaborator, Lil' Wayne had a part in it to make up for this. There are a few weak tracks, which I don't think are acceptable beasue we have waited a long time for this return so everything should be of the highest quality, but there's something for everyone. I don't think this is nearly as good as any of his other album, apart from his debut (but who remembers that one), but I still think you should buy it because there are a few bangers which may not get heard in the future.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Forever Young
2 Love In This Club featuring Young Jeezy
3 This Ain't Sex
4 Trading Places
5 Moving Mountains
6 What's Your Name featuring will.i.am
7 Prayer For You Interlude
8 Something Special
9 Love You Gently
10 Best Thing featuring Jay-Z
11 Before I Met You
12 His Mistakes
14 What's A Man To Do
17 Love In This Club Part II featuring Beyoncé and Lil Wayne
18 Here I Stand
19 Will Work For Love