Here's the dilemma, how do you follow-up an album that sold close to fourteen- million copies worldwide and helped to bring you raves, accolades, Grammy awards, household fame and even a cologne christened with your own name? Well if your name is Usher Raymond then you'd be smart to follow the old adage, if it ain't broke don't fix it.
After four years Usher has stepped up his game, but more or less he just followed the blueprint of his groundbreaking album, Confessions as he plotted out a more mature continuation with, Here I Stand.
The lead hit single, "Love in this Club" follows the template of "Yeah!" and the captivating, "Moving Mountains" follows the template of "Burn".
Courting musical success, Usher doesn't drastically stray to far away from what got him here, but compared to it's predecessor, this album is more laid back, for the grown up and sexy, but it might be a lil' to laid back for the still trying to grow up and wanna be sexy.
"Trading Places" is a low powered offering, while "What's Your Name" featuring Will.I.AM could use a shot of musical adrenaline. On the positive tip, Usher's boy to man album is scarce in falsetto and rich with masculine tone. "Here I Stand" exemplifies that when you write lyrics that allow you to sing and pour your heart out over crisp production, then you are creating soul music personified.
At its best, "Something Special" is a throwback to R&B before Hip-Hop and the single, "This Ain't Sex" musically and melody wise has the comparative feel of a single off of Michael Jackson's classic, "Off The Wall" album.
At times this album is so laid back that it could use a kickstand to remain upright, but when Usher manages to vocally and musically channel the best elements of Michael and Stevie, in conjunction with utilizing the best aspects of a Hip-Hop and R&B collaboration, "Here I Stand" can stand-up for itself on the charts.