A True Critic Who Found Himself Very Impressed,
This review is from: Usher - 8701 (Audio CD)
Well, I don't write too many album reviews but if I do, it's usually for two reasons: either the album is horrible and I want people to avoid it like the plague, or I found a great album where I didn't expect one. Well, this album is the latter. I'll be honest, I was an Usher-hater at one point. I only saw him as a dancing punk that had one or two huge hits every album. I hated his first album, but then again, he was only about 13 or 14 and I probably expected too much. His second album had three really great songs (I still love "U Make Me Wanna") and the rest was a bunch of filler garbage, as most Urban Contemporary artists usually do.
Don't get it twisted, this album is not R&B but rather Urban Contemporary (for those of you who don't know the difference) but I still give it the respect that I would give a good R&B album. Normally, you either like the fast or slow songs and not both. Pleasantly, I liked most of the album, fast or slow. The nicest thing is when you buy an album and you find songs on there that have not been released, that you like better, or just as much, as the songs that have been released. Three songs come to mind: "Twork It Out", "If I Want To", and "Can U Help Me".
1. Intro-lude 8701: Cool, nice preface to the album
2. U Remind Me: One of those catchy songs that you can't shake, just like "U Make Me Wanna" from the last album "My Way"
3. I Don't Know featuring P. Diddy: Neptunes really hooked up the beat and Puffy does a decent job and doesn't make you want to throw the CD out of the window
4. Twork It Out: Nice mellow (not a true slow jam) song to listen to with your significant other
5. U Got It Bad: I've heard this song a hundred times, easily, and I still turn it up when I hear it on the radio, another catchy song that will probably become a classic
6. If I Want To: This song makes me want to get up and dance so bad, I really, really love this song, very up-tempo and will make you nod your head
7. I Can't Let U Go: This one is a little irritating but bearable, too heavy on the chorus, kinda turned me off
8. U Don't Have To Call: Neptunes strike again, very catchy as well, won't be a classic but will be around awhile
9. Without U (interlude): Nice prelude to the next track, sets the stage for a nice ballad
10. Can U Help Me: Some may call it blasphemy but I actually like this song the best of the ballads, even more than "U Got It Bad", hands down, my favorite song on the album, if he released this one, he would probably sell another million albums
11. How Do I Say: Nice ballad, very nice balance of Spanish Guitar, very mellow
12. Hottest Thing: Alright song, doesn't grab me, but I don't feel like I have to skip it
13. Good Ol' Ghetto: Good funk/soul feel, pretty cool, I don't have to skip this one either
14. U-Turn: I know some people probably hate this song but I actually wanted to get up and dance to this
15. U R The One: Didn't move me, it's OK
All-in-all, it was well worth the $13 I spent and I didn't have any regrets. For me, that's saying a lot because not much has come out lately worth buying. I usually wait to find stuff used but this was definitely a purchase I could live with. Usher, not that he cares, has fully earned my respect as an artist with this album and that's not easy to do if I already don't like you because of previous albums. He has truly shown a lot of growth as an artist and that is important. If they had a most improved artist award, he would get it. If you like this genre of music, you will love this album. If you're looking for rich R&B, you're going to be slightly disappointed but if you enjoy a good UC album, you will very pleased.