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.

(Continue Reading Article @ The BVX …)

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  • Nik

    Ouch! This is a scathing review. Sadly, I agree with the writer on most points. It’s always difficult for both fans and the artist when there is a transition from “single, sexy, and free,” to “mature, committed, and ‘locked-down.'” It seems that Usher’s transition was like watching a bad car accident happen. The fans sensed it. His own mother tried to warn him, but he was blinded by love.

    Let’s face it he’s human. We’ve all been there, but I have to admit that as of late, I too have found myself cringing at the mere mention of his name for appearances and performances. It’s like he’s determined to scratch and claw his way back to where he once was rather than accepting life’s lessons and the further evolution into manhood.

    The weird thing is I’ve been a fan of his since way back. We’re about the same age and with everything he’s been through I was expecting a really introspective, insightful piece of work from him. Something that would speak to experiences folks “of a certain age” can all relate to. As a fan I wish him success and look forward to reconnecting with him musically on future albums.

  • Angela

    Eh…if R Kelly, Jay-Z, Diddy, etc can still make songs about being in the club, age has nothing to do with it. Nor is it commitment, since Usher reached mainstream prominence with 8701, where he was singing songs about being in love and was dating Chili. Usher’s issue is that he tried to pass his relationship with Tameka off as “real love” and in the process, alienated his fans. Now, I don’t say he should date/marry/love only women his fans approve of, but his entire thing with Tameka was just shady all around, and then he dumps her at a convenient moment and expects to make another “Confessions”–completely forgetting that people (fans and casual listeners alike) were estranged from him. Usher has fallen into that J.Lo situation, where people just don’t trust their sincerity and credibility because they appear to live from calculated drama to calculated drama in an attempt to keep public interest.

    But I think it’s too early to write Usher off. All those people named as his competition have never reached the heights Usher achieved (and Chris Brown’s career has been halted by his battery of Rihanna, Ne-Yo has never really had the smoking sex appeal, and Trey Songz presently very much appeals to the urban/r&b crowd). He should have just approached promoting R vs R with a little more confidence and swagger because it is a very good album, if I may say so myself, as someone who was very skeptical of him.

  • Mona

    He doesn’t have any direction. But even unfocused Usher is eons beyond Ne-yo, Trey and Brown. These artists can’t touch him physically, vocally or when it comes to performing on the stage.

    I’ve noticed a lot of the teen sensations have trouble once they hit the 30 mark. Too old for tweens, but not ready for Adult Contemporary either.

  • terri

    I completely agree with the first commentator. His able is great! And it shows his maturity and swag as a man. It shows his depth and represents the point he is at right now. I doubt Usher is trying recapture the glam of a young life. He, quite frankly, doesn’t need to. This is Usher we’re talking about here. I doubt that he’s desperate for attention or fans because Usher will always have fans. Raymond vs. Raymond is doing good on its own without much impetus by Usher. So maybe you want to rethink your article and your clearly swag enviousness of Usher and his lifestyle and success.

    Last time you weren’t God or Usher and you can’t say what he feels or thinks. Tip for the day: Get it together!!!!

  • I think Usher is just trying to re-build his music career, which is fine. I went to the store and bought the CD. I like the song “papers” a lot. The only thing I don’t like about that song is that he gave a lil bit too much information about his marriage to Tameka. He would’ve sold more copies if he held back just a lil bit, but overall; Raymond vs. Raymond is a great album and I’ll always be Usher’s biggest fan!!

    P.S. I don’t think Chris Brown, Ne-yo, and Trey Songz are better than Usher in any way, shape or form because Usher has been in the music biz way longer than they have!! They still have a long way to go before they can outdo him!! Real talk!!