CONFESSIONS (Usher album)


Confessions (Usher album) – 2004

Confessions is the fourth studio album by American singer Usher. It was released on March 23, 2004, by Arista Records. Recording sessions for the album took place during 2003 to 2004, with its production handled by his longtime collaborator Jermaine Dupri, alongside with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis and Lil Jon, among others. Primarily an R&B album, Confessions showcases Usher as a crooner and incorporates musical elements of hip hop and crunk. The album’s themes generated controversy about Usher’s personal relationships; however, the album’s primary producer Jermaine Dupri claimed the record reflects his personal story.

The album became the instant commercial success in the United States, selling 1.1 million copies in its first week. Its continued success was bolstered by its four chart-topping singles. To begin strategizing of boosting its sales amid threats of bootlegging, the special edition for the album was issued, which includes the hit single, “My Boo”; a duet with Alicia Keys. Despite some mixed criticism towards its lyrical substance, Confessions received mostly positive reviews and earned Usher several awards; including the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary R&B Album.

The album has been regarded by music writers as Usher’s greatest work, and according to Billboard, is the second best-selling album of the 2000s decade in the United States. With over eight million copies sold in 2004, the album’s commercial success was viewed as a sign of recovering record sales in the US, following three years of decline. It was also exemplary of urban music’s commercial peak and dominance of the Billboard charts in 2004. Confessions has been certified Diamond by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and, as of 2016, has sold over 10 million copies in the US and over 20 million copies worldwide.

When he began recording Confessions in 2003, Usher claimed he did not want to work with any new producers. Production began between Usher and Jermaine Dupri, who produced his last two albums, My Way (1997) and 8701 (2001). In spite of his vision, Usher stated, “With this album I chose some new producers who I figured would definitely allow me to really articulate myself in a different way … Every album you gotta grow. You gotta look for something different.” Dupri also invited his frequent collaborator Bryan-Michael Cox. The album features productions by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Just Blaze, R. Kelly, and Usher’s brother James Lackey.

With forty recorded songs, Usher felt the album had already been completed. Initially, he submitted the album to his record label, Arista. He and the company’s then-president, L. A. Reid, who listened to the record; however, they thought something was missing in it, “You know what, there’s like one or two more records that we just gotta get.”Usher was displeased with the decision; he felt returning to the studio was the hardest part and needed to re-motivate himself. He went on recording a few more tracks with help from fellow Atlantian’s Lil Jon and Ludacris. Eventually, the team was able to produce songs like “Red Light” and “Yeah!”. He also recorded songs with P. Diddy and The Neptunes during one of those sessions but were not released.