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Usher: Confessions [Special Edition]

Audio Samples

>Intro
>Yeah!
>Throwback
>Confessions (Interlude)
>Confessions, Pt. 2
>Burn
>Caught Up
>Superstar (Interlude)
>Superstar
>Truth Hurts
>Simple Things
>Bad Girl
>That's What It's Made For
>Can U Handle It?
>Do It to Me
>Take Your Hand
>Follow Me
>My Boo
>Red Light
>Seduction
>Confessions, Pt. 2. - (Remix, remix)

Track List

>Intro
>Yeah!
>Throwback
>Confessions (Interlude)
>Confessions, Pt. 2
>Burn
>Caught Up
>Superstar (Interlude)
>Superstar
>Truth Hurts
>Simple Things
>Bad Girl
>That's What It's Made For
>Can U Handle It?
>Do It to Me
>Take Your Hand
>Follow Me
>My Boo
>Red Light
>Seduction
>Confessions, Pt. 2. - (Remix, remix)

Album Remarks & Appraisals:

Just in time for the holiday season, LaFace Records & the Zomba Label Group present the deluxe edition of Usher's 5x platinum, history making release Confessions! Features four new tracks including 'My Boo' with Alicia Keys.

"If you believe the tabloid press, Usher Raymond has one mighty libido. He told the Sun: "I'm a sexaholic. I'm addicted to sex. I am a man with strong needs. It's impossible for me to be in a relationship. At least while I'm still young." This may go some way to explain his recent parting with Rozonda Thomas from TLC after three, presumably fun packed,years together. It also begs the question: how many of the tracks on his fourth long-player were written with her in mind?

It's a proven fact that sex sells, just look at Janet Jackson's coverage following her recent Super Bowl 'boob'! The recent media frenzy surrounding Usher's exploits has more than paid dividends, helping to propel him to the top of the UK singles and album charts.

The album opens with the first single "Yeah",featuring Ludacris, and from there on presents the listener with a plethora of potential singles. From the meaty hip-grinding licks on "Caught Up", to the funky 70s rub on both "Throwback" (complete with loops and backing vocal samples from Dionne Warwick) and the Harold Melvin sampling "Take Your Hand."

As the title implies that this is an autobiographical album, and the lyrics see him glide from the sexually charged ("That's What It's Made For" and "Can U Handle It?") to the almost embarassingly personal. On "Confessions Part II" he tells his lover 'I'm having a baby by a woman I barely even know', while "Truth Hurts" may well have significant meaning to Ms Thomas. Is it mere theatre or is he really putting his cards on the table?

Ultimately it doesn't matter. The jury is in and the record buying public have voted with their hard-earned cash. It's scary to think that its now ten years since the 14-year old first made his mark on the r&b scene. Yet four albums later, in the wake of multi-platinum sells, he's matured from a teen pop star to a sultry r&b singer of considerable substance." - BBC

"The newly restructured Arista Records is being ushered in with a bang. The very same week RCA Music Group officially announced that it would be absorbing Arista in yet another music biz consolidation, Usher's new album Confessions is shaping up to be a monster hit. It's been three years (and several high-profile label mergers) since the former teen idol's 8701, but not much has changed in Usher's world. He's still flaunting his abs and playing loverboy to all the ladies, crooning atop slick, pulsating beats courtesy of super-producers like Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis as well as a host of new collaborators. If it ain't broke, don't fix it, right? Maybe he learned that lesson from mentor Miss Janet and her production pals. This time, though, things are rated MA; after all, Usher is in his mid-20s now, just the right age for taking a chance on a one-night stand (the bareback anthem "That's What It's Made For") and getting his "chick on the side" knocked up ("Confessions Part II"). There's plenty for those who like Sensitive Usher, too: "Truth Hurts" finds Usher suspicious of his girl but then ends with a "surprise" twist ("A guilty conscience is the real reason I wrote this song") while "Superstar" boasts a cute metaphor that's perhaps a little too obvious ("I'm your number one fan/Give me your autograph/Sign it right here on my heart"). The edgy, guitar-driven "Bad Girl" is one of the only tracks that lives up to the album's strapping lead single "Yeah!," which has elevated the singer to a whole new level of crunk. Another possible contender is "Take Your Hand," an unmistakably Rich Harrison-helmed track that sounds like a slinkier, stripped-down cousin to Beyoncé's "Crazy In Love" - same style, same sample pattern, but this time it's "Is There A Place For Me?" by Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes (Andre Harris and Vidal Davis achieve the same vintage splendor without the use of samples on the super-tight "Caught Up" and "Follow Me"). Elsewhere, Usher's main men Jam & Lewis' sound is becoming less and less distinctive over time - their tracks blend in with the rest of Confessions, which is good for the album's consistency, but not much else." - SlantMagazine

Confessions is the fourth studio album by American R&B singer-songwriter Usher, released March 23, 2004, on Arista-imprint label LaFace Records. Recording sessions for the album took place during 2003 to 2004 with production by Jermaine Dupri, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, and Lil Jon. Primarily an R&B album, Confessions showcases Usher as a crooner and incorporates musical elements of hip hop and crunk. The album's themes generated controversy about Usher's personal relationship; however, the album's primary producer Jermaine Dupri claimed the record reflects his personal story.

The album was an instant commercial success in the United States, selling 1.1 million copies in its first week. Its continued success was bolstered by its four chart-topping singles. As a strategy to boost its sales amid threats of bootlegging, a special edition was issued with the hit single "My Boo". Despite some mixed criticism towards its lyrical substance, Confessions received mostly positive reviews and earned Usher several awards, including a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary R&B Album. The album has sold over 10 million copies in the US and has been certified diamond in sales by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). According to Billboard, it is the second best-selling album of the 2000s decade in the US and has been regarded by music writers as Usher's greatest work.

Album Reviews:

Rolling Stone (4/15/04, p.151) - 3 stars out of 5 - "[Songs such as 'Yeah' create] sensual panic by combining Usher's jumpy attacks with [Lil Jon's] sublime, frayed beats."

Rolling Stone (4/15/04, p.151) - 3 stars out of 5 - "[Songs such as 'Yeah' create] sensual panic by combining Usher's jumpy attacks with [Lil Jon's] sublime, frayed beats."

Rolling Stone (p.153) - Included in Rolling Stone's Top 50 Records Of 2004 - "[A] ballad-heavy blockbuster..."

Entertainment Weekly (3/26/04, p.72) - "The vocalist reveals his new-found maturity by opening with the grittiest song he's ever done....The ensuing track glides smoothly between club-friendly hip-hop soul and ballads." - Grade: B+p

Entertainment Weekly (3/26/04, p.72) - "The vocalist reveals his new-found maturity by opening with the grittiest song he's ever done....The ensuing track glides smoothly between club-friendly hip-hop soul and ballads." - Grade: B+p

Q (p.107) - 3 stars out of 5 - "[H]e's a fully grown R&B sensation....[With] addictive R&B hooks and all-dancin', all-lovin' subject matter boosted with hot production tweaks."

Q (p.107) - 3 stars out of 5 - "[H]e's a fully grown R&B sensation....[With] addictive R&B hooks and all-dancin', all-lovin' subject matter boosted with hot production tweaks."

Album Notes

This is an Enhanced CD, which contains both regular audio tracks and multimedia computer files.

Personnel: Usher (vocals); Ludacris, Lil Jon (rap vocals); Thicke, Rich Harrison (various instruments); Bobby Ross Avila (guitar, piano, Wurlitzer piano, keyboards, Moog synthesizer, programming, vinyl scratches); Daniel Marino (guitar); James Wright (Wurlitzer piano, bass); Jimmy Jam (Fender Rhodes piano); Larry Cox, L-Roc (keyboards); LaMarquis Jefferson (bass); IZ (drums, percussion, vinyl scratches); Sean Garrett, Darcy Aldridge, Paula Patton (background vocals).

Producers include: Just Blaze, Valdez Brantley, Jonathan "Lil Jon" Smith, Usher raymond, James Lackey.

This is an Enhanced CD, which contains both regular audio tracks and multimedia computer files.

Personnel: Usher (vocals); Ludacris, Lil Jon (rap vocals); Thicke, Rich Harrison (various instruments); Bobby Ross Avila (guitar, piano, Wurlitzer piano, keyboards, Moog synthesizer, programming, vinyl scratches); Daniel Marino (guitar); James Wright (Wurlitzer piano, bass); Jimmy Jam (Fender Rhodes piano); Larry Cox, L-Roc (keyboards); LaMarquis Jefferson (bass); IZ (drums, percussion, vinyl scratches); Sean Garrett, Darcy Aldridge, Paula Patton (background vocals).

Producers include: Just Blaze, Valdez Brantley, Jonathan "Lil Jon" Smith, Usher raymond, James Lackey.

Personnel: Usher (vocals); Alicia Keys (vocals); Kanye West , Lil Jon , Ludacris, Shyne, Twista (rap vocals); Bobby Ross Avila (guitar, strings, flute, piano, Wurlitzer organ, keyboards, drum programming, scratches, background vocals); Craig Love, Dan Marino, E Bass, Ken Lewis (guitar); Stevie Wonder (harmonica); Jimmy Jam (Fender Rhodes piano); James "Big Jim" Wright (Wurlitzer organ, keyboards); L-Roc, Larry Cox (keyboards); Darcy Aldridge, Sandy Garrett, Patrice "ButtaPhly" Stewart, Faith Evans, Tony Tolbert, Paula Patton, Jonathon "Lil' Jon" Smith, Usher Raymond (background vocals); Iz (guitar, keyboards, drums, percussion, scratches).

Audio Mixers: Jermaine Dupri; John Frye; Manny Marroquin; Ken Lewis ; Jon Smeltz; Jonathon "Lil' Jon" Smith; Andre Harris; Phil Tan; Serban Ghenea; Tony Maserati ; Vidal Davis.

Audio Remixer: Jermaine Dupri.

Recording information: Baseline Recording Studios, New York, NY; Blue Jay Studios, L.A., CA; Brandon's Way Recording Studios, LA, CA; Chicago Recording Company, Chicago, IL; Circle House Studios, Miami, FL; Doppler Studios, Atlanta, GA; Enterprise Studios, LA, CA; Flyte Tyme West, Santa Monica, CA; Hitland, Atlanta, GA; Lacoco Studios, Alpharetta, GA; Larrabee North, North Hollywood, CA; Larrabee Sound West, West Hollywood, CA; Oven Studios; Record One Studios, LA, CA; Right Track Studios, New York, NY; Rondor Studios, LA, CA; Sony Studios, New York, NY; SouthSide Studios, Atlanta, GA; Studio Atlantis, LA, CA; The Hit Factory, New York, NY; The Record Plant, LA, CA; The Village Recorders, LA, CA; Underlab Studios, LA, CA; Wavelab Recording, Philadelphia, PA; XXX Studios, Paris, France; Zac Digital, Atlanta, GA.

Photographer: Anthony Mandler.

Usher has been a symbol of tender sexuality ever since he shifted from teenage sensation to soulful superstar. He's breathtakingly good at what he does; possessing that undefinable essence known to a select few soul crooners (Al Green, D'Angelo, etc.) who radiate sensuality through song, Usher has reached an apex on the sultry CONFESSIONS, his fifth studio album.

After the obligatory intro, Lil Jon kicks in with his exhortations on the catchy, dance-floor-ready single "Yeah." Usher follows that up with the sublimely sweet "Throwback," a torch song with a fantastic Motown hook. On "Confessions Part II," he exposes his most vulnerable side when admitting to his lover that he's fathered a child with another woman. Exemplifying his versatility, Usher follows the standard pop ballad "Simple Things" with the guitar-riff-driven "Bad Girl," somewhere between 1970s funk and '80s Prince. CONFESSIONS is the sound of an R&B luminary at the top of his game.



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