From The BVX — Remember when Usher was on top of the world? Today, the 31-year-old is suffering what we like to call a mid-career crisis with his sixth studio album “Raymond V Raymond.” But how did he become the old man in the club?
It almost seems like an eternity since Usher’s wildly popular “Confessions” LP dropped in 2004. Chris Brown wasn’t old enough to drive, Ne-Yo had yet to release his debut album, “In My Own Words” and Trey Songz was still rocking braids. 2004 was Usher’s year. His innovative merging of crunk and R&B sent his single “Yeah!” through the roof and propelled “Confessions” to over twenty million copies sold worldwide. The world was his.
Arguably hailed as Michael Jackson‘s successor, Usher could do no wrong. Then he got married and – as Chinua Achebe proclaimed in his book – things fell apart. What started as criticism for having a sub-par wife became the deconstruction of Usher. The veil of unattainable pop star fell away as his marital status affected his music and, quite honestly, nobody wanted to hear from a committed Usher.
But now Usher is divorced and looking to reclaim his 2004 throne as the confident, ultra-sexy performer. Oh how things have changed. It’s almost as if he is Michael Jordan coming back as a Washington Wizard. While Usher is still is a great player, the game has truly gone on without him.
So how did “Raymond V Raymond” become Usher’s mid-career crisis album?
Musically, he’s a 40-year-old purchasing a convertible drop-top in order to woo college girls. We’ve never seen Usher so desperate for publicity heading into an album. With appearances on “American Idol,” “America’s Best Dance Crew” and a lame NBA All Star Game performance, each event came across as pathetic pleas for attention and further proved that perhaps Usher has finally lost touch with his fans.
Everything the singer has done, others are now doing better. The sex appeal belongs to Trey Songz, Chris Brown owns the dance crown and the crooner title, who sends the ladies swooning with his voice and lyrics, belongs to Ne-Yo.
Still, rather than grow with his audience, Usher tragically fails at proving he is still young and hip on his sixth album. The single “Papers” was an unnecessary, poor attempt at proving Usher is OK with his divorce by glazing over the problems in his broken marriage. He could have kept that information to himself.