Usher's "good and bad" fight it out on new album

Fri Apr 23, 2010 9:03am EDT
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By Mike Collett-White

LONDON (Reuters) - The eligible bachelor is back in singer Usher's new album "Raymond v. Raymond," which he sees an expression of his struggle to balance life in the fast lane with his commitments as a family man and father.

Last year the 31-year-old R & B star, one of the world's top-selling musicians, filed for divorce from the mother of his two young sons, and feelings of anger, guilt and relief filter through the music on his latest record. So too does a celebration of being single again, placing Raymond v. Raymond somewhere between his 2004 hit "Confessions" and the more subdued, though less successful follow-up "Here I Stand" that followed his 2007 marriage to Tameka Foster.

"Here I Stand was a very personal album, it was very honest, there wasn't that much drama because I was in a happy place, I was married, I had children and (was) really coming of age," Usher told Reuters in a telephone interview.

The five-time Grammy award winner had been due to give interviews in London this week, but the flight ban over Europe caused by volcanic ash prevented him traveling.

"That same acceptance of coming of age is in this album, it's just a different story," he added.

"I'm no longer married, and the reality of sustaining and balancing the celebrity that I am and the individual that I've grown to be is what Raymond v. Raymond is all about. If I had to put it short, I'd say Raymond v. Raymond is a little bit of Confessions and a little bit of Here I Stand."

In "Papers," Usher seems to be addressing his divorce with the line: "I'm ready to sign them papers, papers, papers."

And in "Foolin' Around" the singer appears contrite, singing "And the games I played, mistakes I made/Leave me sorrier than you'll ever know" before adding: "Blame it on celebrity."   Continued...

<p>Singer Usher performs during an appearance on ABC's Good Morning America in New York March 30, 2010. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson</p>