It’s commonplace in the music industry for an album to be announced and then pushed back for weeks, if not months, if not…well, you get the picture. So, it’s always a surprise when an album gets pushed forward, especially in the competitive holiday market.

Usher’s “Raymond vs. Raymond” was originally scheduled for a December release, then got bumped into early 2010, and just got bumped back up to a December 21st release. He’ll be competing against high-profile December releases from the likes of Mary J. Blige, Jamie Foxx and Chris Brown with this album, his sixth studio album.

First single “Papers” is already #2 on the U.S. R&B singles chart, and the rumors are that this is an intensely personal effort, something I’m kind of on the fence about. Considering the trajectory of Usher’s career and the “stories” behind his albums, I wonder if Usher is merely creating drama to sell records? Well, whether the drama is real or manufactured, the proof will be in how good the album is, and now we’ll get to find out before 2009 draws to a close.