I don’t say it often, but I’m a fan of yours. Whether it’s authentic or bootlegged, I have every album since My Way (plus the Can U Get With It tape), and I’ve even seen you in concert. In 2004, I, like everyone else in the world, fell in love with Confessions. Talk about memories! Ummph. Yep, that was the Thriller of your career. It was MJ bad. It’s one of the few albums I can play from beginning to end without skipping tracks.
Fast forward to your long-awaited follow-up release to Confessions in 2007, Here I Stand. With a new wife and son, you decided to take the “Grown Man” approach with that album. Imagine: A married man singing about fidelity and committment to his family (gasp!). After all, you’ve been partying like a 30 year-old since you were 14. Maybe your fun time was up. ( I guess being groomed by Diddy and Devante’ Swing will do that.) Your fans no likey the “new Usher” though. We preferred when you were singing about sex, cheating and having babies outside of your exclusive relationship much better. I bought the album, and it was alright. The Dream’s production saved you (“We Ain’t Having Sex,” “Trading Places”). The rest of it….eh.
Now, you’re here. Fresh out of a marriage gone bad and ready to the get the party started. To paraphrase an interview I heard last week, you’re back and your swagger is on 10. Your new album, Raymond vs. Raymond reflects that.
Ursh, I beg to differ. Since when did doing collabs with Gucci Mane and letting Plies’ wanksta ass on a record to scream about pouring Kool-Aid on a woman’s body ever demonstrate swagger? I can’t tell you the disgust I felt when I heard him ruin “Daddy’s Home.” I mean, what happened, dude? I think you mistook coming back with a bang for straight pop culture overkill. Here’s a word of advice to you and other R&B singers: Every song doesn’t need a rapper on it. (That goes for you, too, Trey!)
I won’t even get into “Lil Freak.” It’s a nice lil song production-wise, but you threw me with the concept. What’s a song about a menage a’ trois without the ever so popular bi-sexual Barbie, Nicki Minaj? There’s nothing like a chick talking about touching “kitties” to get some airplay, right? No beef about the song itself, as much as releasing it for radio play. What happened to the “Grown Folks” songs that were reserved for the album only?
I’m not sure what you’re going through, but I figure this is your rebellious stage–similar to a woman who shaves her head after going through a bad breakup. You’re rebelling. Your marriage is finished, so why not talk about banging chicks, threesomes and re-enacting the love scene from Don’t Be a Menace?
You’ve been in the game too long to still be struggling with who you are musically. Thank God, “There Goes My Baby” leaked to redeem you. You do classic R&B and dance songs–very well. That’s what took you to the top. We understand that music is racier now, and reaching the younger generation is a must to sell records, but don’t forget about your longtime older fans. We notice things.
And just in case you’re wondering, yes, I will buy (not burn) Raymond vs. Raymond. But I already know which Raymond I like–the first one.
Old School Fan