Raymond V Raymond
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|9. Foolin' Around|
|11. So Many Girls|
|12. Guilty (feat. T.I.)|
|14. Making Love (Into The Night)|
2010 release, the seventh album from the multi-million selling R&B artist. Following the success of his platinum selling 2008 release Here I Stand, Raymond v Raymond takes you on a journey through the dichotomy of man. Raymond v Raymond opens up another chapter of Usher's coming of age as he tells the story of balancing the challenges of day to day life as an evolving man while jumping back on the scene as a sex symbol and fearless superstar entertainer. With the help of some of the biggest producers in music including Polow Da Don, Jim Jonsin (Lollipop), Danja (Sober), and Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Raymond v Raymond is sure to paint a vivid portrait of growth, triumph, defeat and happiness.
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Monstar, Hey Daddy, There Goes My Baby, OMG (guilty pleasure :), Mars vs Venus, Pro Lover, Okay, and Making Love (Into The Night) make this CD worth buying for me. I can listen to those songs repeatedly and not get tired of them. They are in my opinion the best songs on the CD. That being said, yes, there are some questionable songs here, and yes it is not as good as the Confessions CD. I think that Confessions was to Usher what Thriller was to MJ. I seriously doubt he can make another Confessions. But I can accept this CD as it is because he did have some really good songs that I like. I guess the same goes for others: everything depends on how you view the songs, some will like them and others wont. For that reason, I am giving the CD 4 stars: not the best, but its still good. I would say give it a chance. It is a good CD.
"Here I Stand" showed Usher's maturation into a respectable singer, not just a performer."Raymond Vs Raymond" is Usher's return to being the entertainer he once was. This album is heavy on dance songs and low on R&B. The will.I.am produced song "OMG" is horrible.(I don't know how this guy keeps getting work). I'm not into the techno-dancehall thing so "Monstar" is not for me. And it seems Usher forgot how old he is on "So Many Girls" & "Pro Lover", save those songs for Chris Brown or Omarion. But all is not bad with this album. The single "Hey Daddy" actually had me hyped to hear this album. "Lil Freak" ft Nicki Minaj is another banger produced by Polow Da Don. "There Goes My Baby" is a smooth mid tempo track. The JD produced "Foolin' Around" is solid. But for an album called "Raymond Vs Raymond", the only song referring to his divorce is the lead single "Papers". (Now Usher says the title is about the battle within himself. Kind of like T.I. vs T.I.P.) So the title is very misleading.
Maybe it was my expectations that made this album a major disappointment. Maybe I held Usher to a higher standard than where he needed to be. He was on superstar status but now he is struggling to stay relevant in the male R&B game. Usher should have made a decision on this album. He should have gone either all dance or mature R&B. Instead he made a collage of different sounds that don't fit well together. Its sounds like a rushed album even though it was supposed to be released in December. I'm still waiting for him to be consistent with his style. I thought he was on the right track with "Here I Stand" but now he has taken a huge step back and made his worst album to date.
Seemingly obsessed with Hot & Cold throughout the effort, as he spends much time talking about keeping his love interest warm on a cold and lonely night ("When you're cold, I want to be the one that keeps you warm; I'm so cold that I need a hot tottie"), Usher kicks off the second disc (the first disc in the deluxe edition matches that of the original release) with what you could call `The Trinity' -- three songs that will make you want to pick up the new edition or at least think about it.
"Love Em All" leads with the newly single father of two declaring "Ladies Get In Line, I'm gonna take you back to school". Credited to Esther Dean and Prettyboifresh, among others, "Love Em All" is like Usher's official press release -- "I'm a free to get at every girl kind of guy". In case you didn't understand that, Usher breaks it down on "Love Em All," singing "lately I've been an oh I'm in love kind of guy, now I'm a single, beat it up kind of guy."
`Hot Tottie" is perhaps the defining track however. Following "Love Em All" and the equally club friendly "I'm single and ready to party" lead single "DJ Got Us Falling In Love (Polow Da Don), "Hot Tottie" features contributions from Esther Dean and Jay-Z, the latter adding lines like "Big ballin' is my hobby, so much they think I'm down with the Illuminati" -- "my watch do illuminate, my pockets are Gottie but, I'm God ya'll better ask somebody".
Picking up where he left off on "Love Em All" Usher goes beyond "I'm so cold, you're the hot tottie," singing "I'm a wild boy, you tryin' to tame me baby -- claiming you're a bad, show me baby" on "Hot Tottie." One of his best singles to date, comparable to the equally daring "Lil Freak" (feat. Nicki Minaj), Usher is at his best on the chorus singing "I'm like ooh kimosabe, your body is my hobby, we freakin', this ain't cheating, as long as we tell nobody. Tell your girls you leaving, I'll meet you in the lobby.. I`m so cold that I need a Hot Tottie".
Taking a break from the club, Usher slows it down on "Lay You Down." Produced by Rico Love, also behind "There Goes My Baby," "Lay You Down" is not Usher's best but nonetheless is a solid effort with him utilizing his falsetto singing "This ain't bump and grind, I'll show you what love is if you let me lay you down".
The remainder of the second disc includes previously released singles "Somebody To Love (Remix) with Justin Bieber and the June/July 2010 hit "There Goes My Baby". While Usher does a solid job on the last song, "Stranger," a song produced by Drumma Boy with words like "Sorry you put your trust in strangers and they let you down and I'll be knocking till you let me in -- I want the title of your closest friend, I no longer want to be a stranger," the other two songs "Lingerie" and "Get In My Car" can be bypassed unless you're a freak for sexy lingerie or interested in hearing a long rap from Bun B and Usher stating "there's too many women in here to waste all my time on you -- what you going to do?"
Overall, the deluxe edition is a solid effort worth a buy after the success of "Raymond Vs. Raymond" and its diverse singles, including "Lil Freak" and "Papers". Afterall, Usher seems to wrap up this successful era on with the new songs letting it be known "If you not going to finish, don't start no stuff" ("Get In My Car").
If you must download instead of picking up the deluxe edition, the stand outs are "Love Em All," "Hot Tottie,' "DJ Got Us Falling In Love," "Stranger" and "Lay You Down," that is if you've already downloaded or have "There Goes My Baby" on "Raymond V. Raymond".