From ‘Confessions’ to ‘COMING HOME,’ these are Usher’s albums ranked

Arguably one of the greatest performers of all time, Usher Raymond IV is the total package. Boyish good looks, charisma for days, dance moves that defy gravity and silky-smooth vocals have all bolstered Usher’s 30-year-plus career and iconic 100-show Las Vegas residency.

Usher’s Super Bowl halftime show in 2024 raked in 129.3 million viewers, making it the most-watched on record. In 2022, he had the whole world saying, “Watch this” after a viral moment from his NPR “Tiny Desk” performance, now sitting at 22 million views on YouTube.

In addition to his eight Grammy Awards, 12 Soul Train Awards, and eight American Music Awards, he also holds three Guinness World Records. Those include Longest Stay at No. 1 on the U.S. Singles Chart in a Year, Most Consecutive U.S. Airplay Chart No. 1’s and Most R&B No. 1’s in the U.S.

No matter what has been thrown Usher’s way, he always manages to come out on top and remain one of the greatest entertainers to ever do it. Whether it’s on the big screen in blockbusters like She’s All That and The Faculty or on your TVs as Jeremy in the hit show “Moesha” and a judge on the reality singing competition “The Voice,” Usher has worked his way into hearts and homes.

Below, REVOLT has ranked the living legend’s albums. Tune in.

Released just two days before his historic Super Bowl LVIII halftime performance, COMING HOME offered a sneak peek of what to expect from his show. Usher described his ninth solo studio album as an ode to his hometown of Atlanta, signaled by the peach he’s holding over his bare back in the cover art.

There’s an eight-year gap between his latest release and the previous album. Some critics felt Usher was “marooned” in R&B of the past, while many fans believed COMING HOME and its diverse tracklisting was “well worth the wait.”

Whatever you felt, the album debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Album Sales with 53,000 copies sold in the first week.

At the tender age of 15, Usher released his self-titled debut album after signing with LaFace Records. Ahead of his time, the album credits hold weight, featuring industry heavy hitters like Faith Evans, Chucky Thompson, DeVante Swing, Donell Jones, Al B. Sure! and Timbaland. Usher himself even earned writing credit. Breakout singles “Can U Get Wit It” and “Think of You” gained critics' and fans' attention, though it would be a few years before he saw massive success. Usher peaked at No. 25 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip Hop Charts.

Initially released exclusively on the streaming service Tidal and timed to match his return as a judge on season six of “The Voice,” Usher’s Hard II Love indicated his status as a businessman. This maturity and mastery of the charts led to mixed reviews about his eighth studio album. While one writer declared, “The guy's… effortless ability to jump across genres makes him a national treasure,” another wrote, “Hard II Love lived up to its name with heavy-handed Hip Hop records that felt like Chris Brown cosplay.”

Regardless of critics, fans showed their appreciation by streaming the album 10.7 million times on Tidal in the first week and helping it go certified gold.

The number four in the album title served as foreshadowing since Looking 4 Myself became Usher’s fourth No. 1 LP. The lead single “Climax” emerged as his 12th No. 1 on the Hot R&B/Hip Hop Songs chart. The album with out-of-the-box features and production spotlight acts included, ASAP Rocky, Diplo, Rick Ross, Swedish House Mafia, Rico Love and Pharrell Williams.

The music video for “Climax” was nominated for Best Male Video at the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards.

Usher’s fifth studio album signified a transitional period in the artist’s life. Released on May 13, 2008, the themes explored in Here I Stand ranged from his love for then-wife Tameka Foster, his decision to fire his mother and manager Jonnetta Patton, and the death of his father who left him and his mom when Usher was just a baby. The title of the album marked a new chapter in his life.

While it is certified two-times platinum, in the shadows of the tower of a record that Confessions proved to be, it was considered a commercial failure. However, he continued to lean into that vulnerability on singles like “Love in this Club Part II,” “Moving Mountains,” “Trading Places” and the title track.

Only a year and a half after marrying Foster, Usher filed for divorce on June 12, 2009. Beginning production on Raymond v Raymond, he collaborated with artists like Jermaine Dupri, Ester Dean, Polow da Don, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.

Taking note of the success of Confessions, Usher used this album to reveal the inner workings of his failed relationship through singles “Papers,” “Hey Daddy” and “There Goes My Baby.”

“OMG” became Usher’s ninth No. 1 hit single. The track, which led to his first appearance during a Super Bowl halftime show, sold 7 million copies by the end of 2010. Today, Raymond v Raymond is certified three-times platinum, earning him two Grammy Awards and more.

Not many artists can tout such success for their sophomore release as Usher can with My Way. Just ahead of his 19th birthday, the album hit stores on Sept. 16, 1997. Emblematic of his shift from boy to manhood, the LP debuted at No. 15 on the Billboard 200, incorporating features from Monica, Jermaine Dupri and Lil’ Kim. But, the top-performing tracks were all Usher. “Nice & Slow,” “My Way” and “You Make Me Wanna” are all platinum.

The album racked up several accolades for the young crooner, like sitting at No. 1 on the Billboard R&B/Hip Hop Albums chart for three weeks. Seven-times platinum, My Way is Usher’s breakout album in more ways than one — cue the infamous pants drop scene from the “You Make Me Wanna” music video.

Distinctly characteristic of the early 2000s, production by The Neptunes helped stamp the title of Usher’s third studio album, 8701. The biggest dilemma for the music industry at the turn of the century was online piracy of music, and Arista, Usher’s label, was no exception. This album experienced a delay due to leaks, so Usher and the team returned to the studio to record new tracks and offer a new title.

Well worth the wait, Usher won his first Grammy Award in 2001 for Best R&B Vocal Performance thanks to “U Remind Me” and then again for “U Don’t Have to Call” in 2002.

Twenty years after its release, Confessions is still adding to the culture canon with a national tour, the meme-worthy NPR “Tiny Desk” performance, and more. Released after a public breakup with fellow Atlanta R&B artist Chilli of the group TLC, Confessions made good on the buzz surrounding the then-25-year-old crooner.

The album displayed Usher’s diverse ear with a tracklist that seamlessly moved between sexy ballads and pop-infused, up-tempo tracks. His Atlanta ties were also on full display with Hip Hop and crunk songs too, like the smash hit “Yeah!” featuring Ludacris and Lil Jon.

In its first week, Confessions sold 1.1 million copies and continued to gain steam thanks to singles “Burn,” “Confessions Part II,” “Caught Up” and “My Boo” featuring Alicia Keys.

To date, Confessions is Usher’s only Diamond-selling album.