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Usher: Here I Stand

Usher: Here I Stand

Label:Laface/sony Bmg
Release Date:2008
Genre:R & B

By Al Shipley | Posted 7/2/2008

Usher's fifth album is the kind of unsubtle maturity statement that only a onetime child star could make--or would want to. He even reprints Corinthians 13:11 ("when I became a man, I put away childish things") in the liner notes, just to beat you over the head with the point. And while it's fine, commendable even, for a new husband and father to sing about those changes in his life, Usher sounds too eager to relinquish his heartthrob status on Here I Stand with cloying relationship babble such as "we're not havin' sex, we're making moments."

2004's mega-selling Confessions may have established Usher as the biggest pop star, or at least the most successful Michael Jackson wannabe, of his generation. But four years is a long time in R&B, and in that time Justin Timberlake and Chris Brown have danced across the charts with their own MJ-aping moves. And since Lil Jon's pop moment has come and gone, Usher turns to several 2008 equivalents, from Polow Da Don to The Dream, with the kinds of cookie-cutter results that such hit makers get the big bucks to churn out. Instead, it's the singer's longtime producer Jermaine Dupri who outpaces the younger competition with the more restrained and melodic "Something Special" and "Best Thing" featuring Jay-Z. Still, little on Here I Stand is nearly as enjoyable as past hits such as "My Way" or "U Don't Have To Call," and before long it's difficult not to yearn for some of his so-called "childish" early work.

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