‘Confessions’ barely lives up to expectations

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The word on the street is that Usher cheated on his now ex-girlfriend Rozanda Thomas, better known as “Chilli” from TLC. Who’d he cheat on her with? Some random girl, who is now expecting a baby, if you believe his song “Confessions Part II” from his new album, “Confessions,” which came out on March 23.The first song off the album, “Yeah!,” is a very catchy tune that would get any wallflower out on the dance floor. The beat, done by the red-hot Lil’ Jon, bumps while Ludacris jumps in to fill out the song with a little rap solo. The song is a smash hit.There have been rumors about Usher’s infidelity, and when the album title became known, everyone expected an album that would lead us to the soul of who Usher was. This was his album. He said the break-up with Chilli broke his heart. So the thought was that he was going to open up and say sorry for what he did. He was going to let the world in on who he was and how he really felt. This wasn’t going to be just another random sex-groove R&B album-this was going to have substance.Well, if that’s what you thought, this album will be a total disappointment when you listen to it.The truth of the matter is that it didn’t have to be this way. When you first pick up the album and look at the song list, you’ll notice that one of the executive producers of the album is L.A. Reid, who is a master at crafting hit albums. Reid has produced such chart topping albums as TLC’s “Fanmail” and just recently discovered Avril Lavigne, turning her into a worldwide sensation.Then you have to throw in the fact that not only was the first song off the album a success but so was the second song, “Burn,” which was written by Jermaine Dupri. It’s actually a very touching song that anyone can relate to. The song is about a breakup that both of the people in the relationship don’t want. They love each other but they’re not happy and things just aren’t going right for them. Instead of staying together and going through the same problems over and over, Usher says just cut it off now and just let the feelings burn.With so much going for it, why would the album end up so far from a satisfying end? One reason could be that Usher had almost nothing to do with the writing of the songs. Look in credits and you’ll find his name very seldomly. Even when it does pop up in a few songs it’s drowned out by five or six other names. Maybe he had some input on what should be written for the album but he’s been around the business for so long one would expect (when the material was going to be so personal) he would have a larger part in the writing process.A second reason is that Usher says the album isn’t specifically about his relationship with Chilli. Uhh, what? Apparently, he’s gone so far as to say he’s just being creative and the album isn’t an autobiography. If that’s true then why title the album, “Confessions”? Why try to play it off like your trying to say something when you’re not?Another reason why the album didn’t live up to expectations is that the majority of the songs are just plain lame. Besides the radio singles, the only honorable mentions are “Confessions Part II,” “Simple Things,” and “Superstar.” The rest of the songs are mundane and don’t showcase Usher’s true talent.Throughout “Confessions,” Usher sings about lost love, about how sorry he is for the things he has done and the usual things that R&B singers sing about. But the impression that comes off is one of a man who just used his situation to make money. Most of the songs feel dishonest and not truly from the heart. America loves sappy love songs and that’s what Usher tried to give to people. Too bad he couldn’t have meant it.Even Usher said it himself. In a recent Associated Press article in which he talked about the inspiration for his new material, he said it was from, “a story that I have not went through first hand but have experienced.”What the hell does that mean?