Here I Stand is an autobiographical mix of old-school-meets-new-school R&B ballads, midtempo grooves, and upbeat dance songs that find Usher letting down his guard and truly exposing his vulnerability. ''This is the most honest and communicative he's been with his audience,'' says Prather. ''His other albums weren't based on his life, but this one is his story.... I think this is the only way as a celebrity and as an artist that he can communicate those feelings of the protective father and husband.''
''Every word on this album is meaningful,'' Usher says. ''It's like, I know you ain't gonna listen to me until I get your attention. So now that I got your attention, can I talk to you about something?'' That's why he dropped ''Love in This Club'' as the first single. ''After all of the talk about my relationship, I wouldn't come out with a song about my relationship, because you already know about that. And I'm never gonna make love in a club with a girl.''
Never? ''Well, I can't say that I never have,'' he adds, ''but that's in my past.''
USHER ON HERE I STAND, TRACK BY TRACK
''It's about a guy who makes a mistake [infidelity] and has an understanding with his woman that it's okay but she really didn't forgive him. And trying to get her to get over it is like moving a mountain.''
''Love You Gently''
''It's a classic R&B ballad produced by Dre & Vidal, and written by Raheem DeVaughn. This is the one you throw on with your significant other when it's time to get to it. This is why my son's here. It's a baby-maker.''
''Listening to [confessional] artists like Robin Thicke and John Mayer inspired this song, because it's totally that honest feeling. It's about the feeling when you're in real love. It could be about my son or my wife.''
''Here I Stand''
''It's my version of a young man's 'Here and Now' by Luther Vandross. I'm saying, 'No matter where I'm at or what I'm doing, you're the person I'm with, so don't have any doubt about it. I stand here.'''