It’s hard to believe that some of the most iconic albums of my formative years are reaching huge milestones. From Kanye West’s The College Dropout to Beyonce’s Dangerously In Love, the music of the early 2000s was definitely some of the most memorable, and paved the way for the sound of many artists out today.
Usher Raymond’s fourth studio album (and sonically his best in my opinion) sold 1.096 million copies in its first week, and landed him at the top of the Billboard charts. Without a doubt, ‘Confessions’ opened a window into his personal life as a he came off the cusp of a very public breakup with Chilli from TLC. But for me, it served as one of the many soundtracks of my high school career. From dancing to ‘Yeah!’ on the basketball court my freshman year, to grooving to ‘Follow Me’ on my third generation iPod nano, Confessions was the epitome of great R&B music in 2004. Not to mention, Usher gave us some PRETTY SWEET MOVES for all of the released tracks on this album. I’ll admit — I became a hardcore fan-girl of Usher because of this album, and really believed he set the bar high for R&B artists back in the day. To this day, my friends and I still talk about the amazing production of this album, as well as the visualizations that were so thoughtfully executed with each song. To celebrate the tenth anniversary of one of my favorite R&B albums, here are my ten favorite songs from this timeless classic:
1. ”Yeah!’ – The collaboration of Lil’ Jon’s crunk beats and Ludacris’ southern hospitality rhymes totally made this track epic. The choreography for this club banger made the song even more fun (Do The A-Town Stomp!) And c’mon, who didn’t want their own “U” chain to swing around their neck which donned in a customized blazer? You know you did.
2. ‘Confessions (Part II)’ – While I enjoyed part one of the title track, I think there was much more of a groove to part two. And the lyrics that Usher crooned so soulfully made us wonder, “Is this why he and Chilli broke up?” I also loved the simplicity of the video, and whenever Usher showed his washboard abs, we all were a little bit happier.
3. ‘Throwback’ – In all honesty, we all have that one person that makes us we wish we could throw ourselves back in time and change the story. Usher pleads to his girl on his track, just wanting one more chance to make it work — and enlists Jadakiss for additionally reinforcement. Major props to Just Blaze for producing such a dope track.
4. ‘Caught Up’ – For me, it was really the video and awesome choreography that made me fall in love with this song. Usher notes that it’s easy to be overwhelmed by someone we’re attracted to, but we’ve got to be careful to not to get caught up in stuff that could get us into trouble.
5. ‘Burn’ – This song will forever remain relevant because sometimes you just have to let bridges burn and keep it moving.
6. ‘That’s What It’s Made For’ – Knowing good and well I shouldn’t have been listening to this song at the age of 14, BUT OH WELL. This song right here is a complete mess (in a good way) but at least Usher tries to teach us the importance of protecting ourselves, right? Anyone? Bueller?
7. ‘Superstar’ – What made this song special was the fact that every girl believed that Usher was singing to them. I mean seriously, who wouldn’t want their man to drive 12 hours to stand front row and center at YOUR concert on some complete groupie status? Touche Usher, very cute way to pay homage to your most dedicated fans.
8. ‘Bad Girl’ – Without fail, I get my entire life to this song whenever I’m out with my friends — EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. It’s something about that sultry guitar riff that just makes me go crazy. I also can’t help but think back to when Usher brought Beyonce out on stage and danced with her at one of his concerts. (He later returned the favor by joining her in the ‘Naughty Girl’ video.)
9. ‘Truth Hurts’ – Here, it’s almost as though Usher has flipped the script on his girl as he tries to catch her up in cheating on him (ha, you tried it Ursh) but in actually, he’s the one that’s been doing wrong. But my part is when he breaks it down, “Cause I know that you will tear up the place,
punch me in my face; pull the hot grits out ,I think you need to sit down oh.” Yep, it just got real.
10. ‘Follow Me’ – This upbeat, sunny tune was totally a great way to end the album and gives us a glimpse of how Usher feels about dealing with love in the spotlight. Even in the midst of all the mess he dealt with throughout the album, it paints a picture for us that he has found the perfect girl that understands him best, and he appreciates that.
What are some of your favorite tracks on ‘Confessions’? Comment below or send me a tweet!