Friday, December 5, 2008

Usher As Bad As Britney?

So I was on my usual blog stroll today, and came across this column comparing Usher's performance at this year's Victoria's Secret Fashion Show to Britney Spears' infamous 2007 VMA fiasco. Come again?

Now, Usher's biggest fan I am not, infact I think his ego could use a couple of knocks, but he killed this performance. Yes, he was a little pitchy in some spots, but for the most part Usher's performance of This Ain't Sex was as charming and showy as it should have been, without going at all over the top. I'm gonna give Usher even more credit for being able to own a stage without the presence of a single backup dancer, which is an accomplishment for an entertainer as celebrated for his choreography and elaborate stage shows as Usher is. I'm not really sure how anyone could see any trace of Britney's darkest moment in the performance posted above, but I think it might have something to do with the continued backlash following Here I Stand.

I am so clearly in the very small minority of people who actually enjoyed Here I Stand. I"ll even admit that I liked the album even more than Confessions, and that's something no one wants to hear. But, where Confessions was arrogant and juvenile, Here I Stand is the work of a man realizing his maturity. It may not have been as fun as Usher's 2004 effort, but it was honest and self-realizing, and showcased some much-needed evolution from the otherwise predictable Mr. Raymond, which makes the project infinitely more satisfying in my opinion. And if nothing else, Here I Stand had some really good songs. Trading Places, Moving Mountains, His Mistakes, What's a Man to Do, What's Ur Name, and my personal favorite Lifetime...good shit! There wasn't a bad song on the album, save the title track, and it would have been nice if more people gave it a chance.

Still, considering Usher chose Love in This Club as his first single, I would argue that he set himself up for failure. Love in This Club and its subsequent remix were the least reflective of the rest of the material on Here I Stand, and were obvious attempts to capitalize on the success of Yeah! and later 'Lil Wayne. In that regard Usher's introduction of Here I Stand was misleading, and ultimatly disappointing for fans expecting the album to take more of a Hip-Hip influenced R&B direction.

But I encourage you all to get over it, and give Here I Stand another chance. Let go of Confessions, and take the record for what it is, and I'm sure you'll find some satisfaction.

(Oh, and I apologize for the widescreen YouTube vid. It had the best quality, but clearly it doesn't agree with my blog template.)

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