Monday, April 5, 2010

Album Review: Usher "Raymond Vs. Raymond"

Usher gave himself a lengthy four years to release the follow-up to 2004's Confessions. In the time before the release of Here I Stand, he got married and became a dad, so the album showed a level of growth and maturity that would be expected from a husband and father. Now, two years later, Usher may be divorced, but he's also a father of two, so one could expect comparable growth and maturity to that found on his 2008 effort on his new album, right? Judging by the title Raymond Vs. Raymond, uh, well...

"Monstar": Once this song finally gets going, it's actually pretty good, but it starts like fifteen times! It sorta gets a pass since it's the opener, but they could've had an intro all the same. There are also memorability issues because the song is kinda one big identity crisis. 3.5/5

"Hey Daddy (Daddy's Home)": This song is trash. Besides being decent vocally, it is nothing original (to be nice) & is repulsive lyrically, especially for a REAL daddy in his thirties. 0.5/5

"There Goes My Baby": One of the album's better tracks. Nice slick vocals from Ursh. One of your better contributions as well, Rico Love. 4/5

"Lil' Freak" (ft. Nicki Minaj): Hands down, the best track on the album. I love this song! This is how he can make a song so hot that I'll even excuse the lyrical content. I also think that this is one of Nicki's best verses. Great job, Polow! 5/5

"She Don't Know" (ft. Ludacris): This one is alright. It's nothing groundbreaking, but it doesn't disgust me either. 3/5

"OMG" (ft. This song fails at life. It's recycled even good recycled at that--& it's NOT you, Usher! Still not the worst song on the album though... 1.5/5

"Mars Vs. Venus": This one is veeery nice. I love the vibe of this slow jam. He should do more stuff like this with Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis. 4.5/5

"Pro Lover": Vocally, decent as expected. Lyrically, a complete & total embarassment. It's not even a good song, so with the childish bragging... SMH. 1.5/5

"Foolin' Around": The over-the-top Confessions similarities are ridiculous, but I can't say he's bad at doing this kind of thing. I'm on the fence about the lyrics, but solid execution nonetheless. 3/5

"Papers": I hate this song. There is absolutely nothing that can be taken away from this attention-seeking foolishness. 0/5

"So Many Girls": This is a half-decent song, but it sounds like something Trey Songz's ignorant... would record. 2/5

"Guilty" (ft. T.I.): Usher, if you're gonna vent about your ex-wife in a song, this is how you do it. The beat is hot & T.I. kills his verse. I like! 4/5

"Okay": Another cool cut from Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis. Ursh should be utilizing his vocals like he does here more often because as opposed to some songs on this album, not everybody can sing like that. 4.5/5

"Making Love (Into The Night)": I'll give him some credit for the vocals on this track, but even though he is an R&B singer, the lyrics here just come across as desperate. Plus, again, it's just not a very good song. 1/5

As you can see, Raymond Vs. Raymond is a bit bipolar, so if I actually believed the title had the *abstract* meaning that Usher says it does, then one of those Raymonds clearly won. He made the wrong decision to revert back to his old self & try to recreate Confessions because not only did it hinder his creativity, but it's not a bit believable. Somehow though, Usher's talent does manage to shine through on enough of the tracks.

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars


Anonymous said...

plies was not featured in the album version of the song

vmars08 said...

Thanks for letting me know. I used iTunes as my reference point for who was or wasn't featured on the album versions of certain songs & they said he was, but they've been wrong before. That doesn't change my opinion of "Hey Daddy (Daddy's Home)," although it is a relief.