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Here I Stand (Deluxe Version)

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Over the course of this album, Usher tries out as many styles of R&B as he has room for. To get to the finest Usher has to offer, go to “Best Thing” and “Something Special.” The first is the kind of solid no-nonsense R&B/rap track that they just don’t make anymore; the latter is an unadorned soul song that showcases just how much Usher can do with his still-boyish voice.

Customer Reviews

Here I Stand (2008)

Usher is one of the best R&B artists I've listened to. He did a great job in this album, and he hasn't lost his touch. His voice still brings magic to the song. He is amazingly talented. I highly recommend this album. My favorites: 1. Love In This Club 2. Moving Mountains - My no.1 song! 3. Something Special 4. Best Thing 5. Before I Met You 6. His Mistakes 7. Love In This Club, Pt. 2 8. Here I Stand 9. Will Work for Love

The King of R&B retakes his throne

R&B king Usher marks his return after a four-year absence with ‘Here I Stand,’ a contemporary mix of synthed-up club tracks and sincere soliloquies. The record kicks off with the #1 monster smash “Love In This Club,” which was produced by Polow da Don and has scorched up the charts with its techno vibe and insanely catchy hook. The lyrics are a bit silly with Young Jeezy’s double entendres, it does not take too much away. The plot of “Club” is revisited on “Love In This Club, Pt. II,” which has songstress Beyonce and rapper Lil’ Wayne put a new balladesque touch on the hit single. Beyonce fills in the role of the cautious female that is the object of Usher’s affection in the club. She turns down his advances, keeping the sexual tension in the song as hot as a livewire. One of the most prominent themes present on ‘Stand’ is sex, which is ever present whether it is etched into the lyrics or more subliminal. On “This Ain’t Sex,” Usher breaks out his best impression of R. Kelly and it actually works. The track’s lyrics are full of discrete symbolism, and the song is a throwback to 90s R&B. But on “Love You Gently,” a piano accompanies the R&B king as he uses clichéd similes to describe how he will love his woman. One of the most blatant examples is “Trading Places,” on which a reversal of sex roles is explored, and it goes uncomfortable places with its lyrics. The melody almost makes up for them, but one cannot help but have a grossed out feeling after hearing it. On “Best Thing,” Jay-Z provides a rap verse to introduce the track and later returns at the bridge, while Usher tries to win back his woman with reflective lyrics on his past life with her. The song is mildly catchy and obviously tailored for urban radio, but does not stick out from the rest. “His Mistakes” is another hot track, as Usher uses a piano melody and strings to voice his dedication to his woman, trying to convince her that he is nothing like her former boyfriend. The song is very touching and hits all the right spots artistically to score a hit. The production on ‘Stand’ is top notch, as big name producers offer up some of their best work. Danja helps out with one of the album’s catchiest tracks, midtempo “Appetite,” on which Usher delivers another scorching performance. Another hot spot on ‘Stand’ is “Before I Met You,” as the synths return with a vengeance and an overwhelming haunting sound encompasses the longing lyrics, especially the loop of “remember” that is found at the song’s beginning and bridge. This feeling actually works well and puts the track up there in the rankings among the rest. But the peak of the album is without a doubt the Tricky Stewart and The-Dream-produced “Moving Mountains.” The bassline comes out and crushes the listener, while Usher ventures into his upper range more than usual. The song has a fresh sound, and would be an excellent follow up single to “Love In This Club.” On “What’s a Man to Do,” an annoying Asian-sounding bird call ruins the entire track, which would actually be pretty strong without it. It is classic Stargate and sounds similar to their past work, but Usher’s vocals are as good as usual. But on “Something Special,” Usher opts for a more straight up bluesy sound. His vocals go very well with the retro sound, and although it does not sound current one bit, it sounds better than a good amount of the earworms currently getting airplay. Although ‘Stand’ lacks a bona fide clunker, a few tracks brush close. On “What’s Your Name,” Usher gets a little help from in an 80s-sounding piece of generic wash. The song is lyrically similar half a dozen other songs already out on the airwaves, and the hook is annoying if anything. One of the album’s weaker tracks. Usher manages to bore listeners with “Lifetime,” a low-key ballad that is hardly memorable, and the title track, “Here I Stand,” is pretty lifeless, but Usher definitely brings out his core soul vocals on the piece. Usher closes ‘Stand’ on a sweet note with “Will Work For Love,” a midtempo in which he pesters women for their love by holding up a sign that says “will work for love.” Despite the ridiculous premise and lyrics, the song is pretty catchy and is musically solid. The two interludes are also sentimental. On the opening intro, Usher sets the scene in which he drearily dreams about how he would feel if a certain woman was in his life. But on “Prayer for You,” Usher serenades his son and prays for an assortment of positive things to happen to him. Despite a few rough spots, Usher’s return to the charts is greatly appreciated, as the king retakes his throne and demonstrates how the art of R&B should be done. ‘Here I Stand’ is a pivotal moment that will be a huge marker on the timeline of the genre and while it will not match the commercial success of Usher’s previous effort, ‘Confessions,’ it will most definitely quench the thirst of his legions of fans.

Usher-Here I Stand

Four years after the release of 8 million selling Confessions, Usher has returned. With Here I Stand, he attempts to recreate the magic and success, while creating a different sound. Love In This Club: Usher’s return starts with the atmospheric synthy club banger, “Love In This Club”. It features Usher at his raunchiest, promising he’ll “give it to you non stop” and “let’s both get undressed right here”, while ATL trapstar Young Jeezy delivers his typical raspy and gritty flow with a fitting verse. 4/5 This Ain’t Sex: Usher continues with the sex grooves, after hitting the club, he brings a 80’s flavored feel good jam, reminiscent of Michael Jackson. It is a different style for Usher that works off the dance ready groove created by Jazze Pha & Tricky Stewart. 3.5/5 Trading Places: L.O.S.’s less atmospheric sound of “Trading Places” features some electric guitars and bouncing keys. The track reuses J. Holiday’s “Bed” drums, as the track is just mediocre, due to Usher’s weak lyrics “you order Chinese food, before you do me”. 2.5/5 Moving Mountains: Tricky Stewart & The Dream are back with another hit track. Usher relates a suffering relationship to moving mountains, as this epic ballad builds off of a guiding electric guitar and building synths. Usher’s vocals are pain stricken and show him at his most vulnerable, yet showing true emotion. 4.5/5 What’s Your Name: Will.I.Am jacks the synth line from P!nk’s ‘01 hit “Let’s Get It Started” and adds a funky bassline. The track is merely a decent club jam that features catchy production and minimal vocals. 3/5 Something Special: Jermaine Dupri, assisted by Manuel Seal create a strumming guitar jam in the background, with a smooth bassline. Usher delivers his Stevie Wonder-esque vocals for this mature and tender feel good jam, as Usher states “for the lovers”. 3.5/5 Love You Gently: Dre & Vidal bring light piano keys, deep bass and provide a decent midtempo production, while Usher croons of gently loving his lady. The midtempo however, falls flat, sounding dull and boring, as Usher sings about light love, yet crooning an abrupt request of “how about some four play?” 2.5/5 Best Thing: JD is back with a horn loop that goes throughout, and hard hitting drums, as Jay starts the track off with a hot verse “I couldn’t give a ring up, I couldn’t give a f***, how could I give a finger?”. Jay’s second verse isn’t nearly as focused, but works, as Usher croons about his girl being gone so she took the best thing from him. 3/5 Before I Met You: Usher returns to the mature sound, as “Before I Met You” is a reflection on his past, yet being a thank you to his girl. Bryan Michael Cox helps things with a dramatic midtempo, that has a fitting bassline and instrumentation. 3.5/5 His Mistakes: The piano laced melody of “His Mistakes” is courtesy of his makers, Stargate, as they continue with the same tempo and smooth strings. Usher is emotionally frustrated, as his girl continues to compare him to a previous boyfriend. This is the type of emotion that shows growth, as the bridge builds beautifully and this should have radio success. 4/5 Appetite: Danja’s snap, bass and fluttery flutes, eventually join weirder instrumentation at the hook. Usher’s “appetite for the lady” works off the unusual Danja production and bizarre story. 3/5 What’s A Man To Do: Stargate uses a Indian sounding sample that seems out of place, as they bring their signature acoustic guitar and bass clap rhythm. Usher sings about being stuck loving two girls. 3/5 Revolver: A decent track here that has some unique production and moderate vocals. 3/5 Lifetime: Usher’s younger brother, JLack sets the tone with drums and light keys. Its gentle, its nice, but it starts sounding dull and boring, due to the too simplistic production. 2.5/5 Love In This Club Pt. II: Totally different from the club party to a seductive love groove, as Soundz bites off the Stylistics’ “You Are Everything” and some synths from the original to make the beat. Beyonce collabs beautifully, while flirting with Usher, as Lil Wayne brings his lovey dovey raspy flow that rehashes some of his “Lollipop” lyrics/vocoder and his signature “it's the remix baby!”. 4.5/5 Here I Stand: Dre & Vidal finish things off with the broadway sounding title track, as Usher delivers a strong statement through light production. Fitting end that is mature and reflection of his life, as well as a thank you. 4/5 Will Work For Love: J.R. Rotem stars things off with a piano laced production, as Usher delivers a solid track here that is smooth sounding and genuine of working for love. 3/5 Love In This Club Remix: Same production and lyrics from Jeezy and Usher, but T.I. adds his style to the track with a fast paced flow that suits the track well. 4/5 Here I Stand is a much more mature offering from Usher. From the Broadway like intro and title track, to the content of many of the songs. “Something Special” and “Before I Met You” are perfect examples of maturity, as well as the variety in music. “This Ain’t Sex” is a different look for Usher that is fun, while club smash “Love In This Club” was a solid comeback with fellow ATL resident Young Jeezy. Moments of true emotion are when Usher shines, such as the epic ballad “Moving Mountains” or the scarred “His Mistakes”. However a few midtempos fall to boredom, such as the simplistic “Lifetime”, wannabe smooth, yet dull “Love You Gently” that has Usher singing “Get laid, get laid”, and finally the rehash production of L.O.S. on “Trading Places” that also has weak lyrics. Bizarre “Appetite”, Jay & Usher combo “Best Thing” and “Will Work For Love” are all decent cuts. Seductive “Love In This Club Pt. II” is a welcomed difference from the original, while the remix features a solid T.I. verse. Overall it is a much more mature effort from Usher, that still has instances of previous swagger, but overall solid return for Usher. Rating: 8 out of 10


Born: October 14, 1978 in Dallas, TX

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

One of the most successful pop-R&B artists of the late 20th century and the early 21st century, Usher debuted during the mid-'90s as a fresh-faced teenager. As part of the thriving LaFace label roster, he made an instant impact in R&B's post-new jack swing era. He successfully rode mainstream songwriting and production trends across three decades and peaked artistically and commercially during the mid-2000s, when his landmark fourth album, Confessions, outshone all of its competitors. It generated...
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