by Tara Pringle Jefferson
I’ve been a big Usher fan since his “My Way” days. I was excited to see him get married and have his face plastered all over Essence magazine declaring his love for his wife and his son. I thought it was beautiful.
But now that things have gone south in their marriage and divorce is imminent, Usher released “Papers” as his comeback single and I ain’t feeling it. Not at all.
With lyrics like, “I know it’s you I love, but then I also know it’s you I don’t like,” and a lackluster melody, the song just rubs me the wrong way. A song that takes one of the most gut-wrenching situations a person can go through and makes it fit a beat for entertainment purposes. Makes me squirm a little, like I’m overhearing a private conversation between Usher and Tameka.
Now, I realize, with a 50% divorce rate (I really want to see the source of that oft-quoted statistic), that there are a lot of people who might feel comforted by the song, who are nodding their heads in agreement saying, “It’s about damn time we had someone looking out for us!”
But regardless of what it means to the public at large, what about his kids? Yes, you can argue that the lyrics aren’t necessarily autobiographical, but what do you think his kids will think hearing the song a little later on, knowing the circumstances surrounding the studio sessions?
And I know Usher’s not the first artist to use his personal tribulations to propel his career forward, but for something that’s so raw and so recent, it seems odd.
What do you think? Should “Papers” become the new anthem for people mid-divorce? Is it too soon to be singing about signing papers when the ink isn’t even on the papers yet?
Tara Pringle Jefferson is a freelance writer living in Ohio with her husband and two children. Visit her blog, www.theyoungmommylife.com, to read more of her observations about life, motherhood and love.