When Usher released his landmark album Confessions on March 23, 2004, he never realized that he was setting a new bar for contemporary R&B. He merely huddled up in the studio with his core team of producers and writers—Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Jermaine Dupri, Dre & Vidal, and Bryan-Michael Cox—and had conversations about women, sex and relationships. Then they got to work. From those powwows he developed a progressive yet unapologetically R&B masterpiece that has sold more than 10 million copies in the U.S. by simply keeping it real(istic).
As Usher’s finest work approaches it’s 10th bornday, VIBE picks apart the album track-by-track, ranking the songs from great to greatest. —John Kennedy