That’s My Jam is a weekly feature where one person from the Selective Hearing staff goes to wax poetic about music that is pivotal to their musical tastes. Whether that would be an album, a song, or anything in-between. We all had to start somewhere.

Usher Confessions

Released March 23, 2004

Track Listing

  1. Intro
  2. Yeah! feat. Lil Jon & Ludacris
  3. Throwback feat. Jadakiss
  4. Confessions (Interlude)
  5. Confessions Part II
  6. Burn
  7. Caught Up
  8. Superstar (Interlude)
  9. Superstar
  10. Truth Hurts
  11. Simple Things
  12. Bad Girl
  13. That’s What It’s Made For
  14. Can U Handle It?
  15. Do It to Me
  16. Take Your Hand
  17. Follow Me
  18. My Boo feat. Alicia Keys (Special Edition)
  19. Red Light (Special Edition)
  20. Seduction (Special Edition)
  21. Confessions Part II Remix feat. Shyne, Kanye West and Twista (Special Edition)

Review

I’ve had an Usher renaissance lately. Staying up late, I came across an interview with Usher. It was an in-depth, substantial, interesting conversation with the man. Afterwards, I delved into his catalog of music. I wouldn’t have considered myself a fan, but I enjoyed his music and respected the man from afar. At first, I told myself I never heard Usher talk so openly about things. In an interview format, that was true. As far as just being open, I realized he did this years before.

It was hard to miss Confessions back in 2004. The lead single, Yeah! was an absolute smash hit. Of all of his hit songs, Yeah! is probably his biggest. The song still moves crowds to this day. For instance, I’ve recently been around dance competitions (for work purposes), and between numbers, Yeah! is one of the songs played as groups get on and off-stage. There are tons of songs that could be played during those times, and they selected Usher.

Then we have the title songs. Originally, Confessions was just an interlude to Part II, but it was later turned into a full song. Part II, however, had the bigger impact. Before this, all we heard from Usher was the “falling in love” and “being in love” songs like any other R&B artist. Never did Usher expose himself and present himself as vulnerable as he did on this song. In the years following, it was questioned whether the song was about Usher’s true experiences. Longtime producer and collaborator Jermaine Dupri has claimed Confessions was his story. Whatever the case is, this song and the album as a whole has Usher taking that step from budding artist to bonafide superstar.

Speaking of production, Confessions stands out because he decided to work with new producers to explore new sounds. One of the resulting experiments results in the best songs on the album, Bad Girl. He never sounded quite like this before, and arguably never quite sounded like this ever since.

Now why didn’t this album make an impact on me at the time? I needed to grow up. Live life. I can relate to the lyrics in a way 2004 me couldn’t even have imagined. Confessions planted the seeds of being an Usher fan in me. It just took years for those seeds to grow. But I’m glad they grew.