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Usher – Confessions

  • Release date: 23 March 2004
  • Label: Arista Records

Confessions, marketed as his most personal project to date. In interviews, he told the same story about his breakup with TLC’s Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas, seven years his senior: He’d cheated on her; she’d been pressuring him to settle down; arguments led to fissures, and they eventually split

Confessions was not just about Usher’s experience; rather, it was a compendium of the transgressions of its male producers, presented as the atonement of crimes by one man. The most explicit song on the album, “Confessions Pt. II,” which tells the story of a man who creeps on a woman and gets her pregnant, was inspired by Dupri’s life rather than Usher’s. Comparing their creative freedom to Michael Jackson’s, the producer said to Vibe in 2014, “We wanted the media to ask us questions.” “Nobody is aware of Billie Jean’s identity. We’re still trying to find her.

The less well-known songs on Confessions, which have 17 original tracks (the deluxe edition adds four more, including the dreamy Alicia Keys duet “My Boo”), are actually hidden gems that are concealed behind the album’s most sublime moments rather than filler. A few after-hours cuts that find Usher caught between temptation and partnership feature some of his most mesmerising falsettos—”Can U Handle It?” (which he co-wrote with Robin Thicke) and “Do It to Me,” among other songs. “Simple Things” is a syrupy lecture on the importance of listening to women’s needs

Confessions as an inflection point in both his career and personal life. “At the end, can you judge me for being direct with you, the person whom I have to be in this relationship with?” he says, addressing a fictional partner, but maybe also his fans. “I’m gonna let you know who I am. And in the end, you choose to stay or you choose to leave. But you’re gonna know who I am.” For him, honesty ushered in growth and success, and it led to one of the most flawless executions of mythmaking in pop

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Usher’s Confessions’ Tracklist

2Yeah! ft Lil Jon and ludacris 
4Confessions (Interlude)
5Confessions Part II
6 Burn
7 Caught Up
8 Superstar
10Truth Hurts
11Simple Things
12Bad Girl
13That’s What It’s Made For
14Can U Handle It?
15Do It to Me
16Take Your Hand
17Follow Me