Usher: Here I Stand

B

Usher

Album: Here I Stand
Label: LaFace

So much for the rumors that Usher and his bride are on the skids. Here I Stand, Ush's fifth studio album, practically shouts that his wandering eye is finally at rest, and fidelity is job one. Nothing stymies a player's libido like talk of children, but here they are: His infant son coos on the interlude "Prayer For You," and on the elegant sexytime jam "Lifetime," he sings, "Your mama and my mama want some grandbabies tonight." The "tonight" presumably refers only to the conception, but Usher sells the line like his lady's womb is some kind of Easy-Bake Oven—he's just that eager. But this is not the Usher whose Confessions did boffo numbers in 2004. To that end, there's "Love In This Club," the rowdy Eurodisco single, an ode to public copulation and an obvious pander to fans of the Usher of old. He sounds much more convincing on syrupy ballads like the Dre and Vidal-produced title track, which lyrically and musically sounds more passionate and more adult than Usher ever has. The guy's in love, so even on "Trading Places," when he talks about serving his woman a breakfast of toast with jelly and orange juice, it sounds sexy, not quotidian. A ball and chain has never given anyone such a lift.

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