2001, Music

8701 (2001) by Usher

I know very little about Usher beyond the hits that were so successful I couldn’t avoid them. I do remember I heard one of his songs once (something about “Confessions”) which startled me in how it was mostly just vocals, with barely other instruments. Other than that, I know nothing about him. And I wasn’t in much of a rush, frankly.

This is very much on the hip hop side of R&B, if that makes sense. Though Usher is singer, the vibe is very hip hop compared to a lot of ’90s R&B (at least that I’m familiar with).

As you might expect, the singles are considerably catchier than the deep cuts. And, as with almost every R&B album of the ’90s, it’s true that there is just too much material. It’s hard to evaluate the quality of it when you get bored.
The lyrics are pretty typical for R&B. It’s not why you listen, right? I certainly don’t think there’s much to write home about here.

As I noted before, the sound is a little more contemporary than some of the R&B I’m familiar with however it’s not as musically interesting as a lot of his contemporaries (but most of what I’m thinking of is in the neo soul world). Usher’s sound is pretty lean and is focused on his voice, which is good. But it’s not really my kind of lean, if you know what I mean. And Usher is not a super interesting singer, at least on this album. (And I must say I didn’t really notice the Neptunes tracks, which I’m surprised about, because they usually stand out.)

It’s fairly generic and I wonder how much of the success game from the ear worms he did manage to create and his charisma. Because it sold an absolute ton and it’s kind of dull. And it’s way too long (but of course).

6/10 because it’s competent.

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