September 2004 (v7 i1)
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Usher's label won't record 'Confessions, Pt. 12'
Executives feel artist needs to move on
by Kathryn Edwards, Staff Writer

HOLLYWOOD, CA — What had previously been labeled as artistic differences between R&B artist Usher and his label, La Face, has now escalated to a breakdown of negotiations concerning the artist's next record.

According to the label's spokesperson, the dispute started when executive Barry Weiss, president and CEO of Zomba, refused to collaborate on Usher's next album, "Part 12 of My Confessions," the follow up to this summer's hit "Confessions."

In a statement to the press, Nichols reaffirmed his admiration for Usher's talent but could not deny that his confession songs had gone "too far."

"I have always been a fan of Usher," said Weiss, "but I'm not going to record a song about how he lied to his mom when he told her he liked the sweater she got him for Christmas or how he doesn't tip waiters enough. It's just not good music."

The album expands on the subject matter included in his previous confessions, including more personal, and as some say, more irrelevant actions in Usher's past. The singer responded to these comments by defending his artistic creativity and the "soulfulness" of his music.

"What Usher is trying to do is take music to the next level," said the singer. "Usher confesses because Usher wants to be honest with his fans."

Even critics, who were able to listen to downloaded bootlegs of the songs' demos, admit that the songs do not reflect the same degree of soulfulness that made "Confessions" a chart-topping hit. One song, called "Theft of My Love," recounts a shoplifting experience the singer had while on tour:

"So I stole the Twix from the 7-Eleven/ but I've been wanting to confess 24-7/ I could afford it/ I could've bought it/ I could've not played the game/ Now I have/ but don't want it/ And I'm the one to blame."

"The stuff he's confessing isn't a big deal," Rolling Stone reviewer Melanie Carmichael explained. "It's not like the song about when he gave his girlfriend the clap or when he stole money from her purse — songs about not bathing everyday while on tour simply don't appeal to listeners."

Even Usher's agents admit that fans are starting to tire of his confessions.

Janelle Morris, a 17-year-old from Atlanta, asked, "Shouldn't he have some kind of closure by now? I wish he would get to a shrink so he can start writing songs about hooking up again. Dancing to confessions of teasing the fat kid in seventh grade is just not as fun."
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