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Usher

Confessions

RS: 3of 5 Stars Average User Rating: 4of 5 Stars

2004

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R&B; teen dream usher is coming of age, again. On Confessions, his first release since 2001's 8701, the baby-faced twenty-four-year-old pop crooner still doesn't quite cut it as a horny roughneck. But after getting Punk'd last year by pal Ashton Kutcher, junked by girlfriend Chilli of TLC and crunked by Atlanta associate Lil Jon, our choirboy fashion plate insists he has grown up.

The Lil Jon-produced kickoff, "Yeah," creates sensual panic by combining Usher's jumpy attacks with Jon's sublime, frayed beats. On the Jermaine Dupri-produced "Confessions Part II," Usher admits, "The girl that I been creepin' wit'/Says she's three months' pregnant and she's keepin' it." His sweet falsetto on the weepy breakup song "Burn" convincingly marries resolve and regret, but when it comes to rough stuff, there's still no "u" in p-i-m-p. On clap-funk tracks such as the Jam and Lewis-produced "Badgirl" and Prince-tinged "Do It to Me," Usher doesn't do any more than competently ride the beats. He seems more comfortable on the sex-ed homework exploration "That's What It's Made For," where frisky flutes give their blessing to his enthusiastic midsize pimping; maybe coming-of-age can wait.

LAURA SINAGRA
(RS 946, April 15, 2004)



(Posted: Mar 24, 2004)

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