The Return

Music review by
Kathi Kamen Goldmark, Common Sense Media
The Return Music Poster Image
Idol goes for sexier "teddy bear" image.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this music.

Positive Messages

Some adoring and empowering messages for girls; also some provocative "let's get drunk and do it" suggestiveness.


A lot more sexy innuendo than on earlier work.


A few products mentioned, especially alcoholic beverage brand names.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some social drinking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that American Idol champ Ruben Studdard has sprinkled his new CD with a few sexy lyrics this time around. "Gotta check my swagger, get my pimpin' tight/Gotta get you on that Patron and get you feeling right" is strong stuff for Ruben. There are some very sweet songs as well ("Make Ya Feel Beautiful," "Listen to Ya Heart").

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What's the story?

Ruben Studdard's THE RETURN reflects a new maturity in the artist. No longer squeaky clean, Ruben wants us to think of him as the \"velvet teddy bear\" -- a woman-pleasing lover who's also awfully nice when you look beyond the swagger. On \"The Return (of the Velvet Bear)\" he sings \"Shortie, the vibe you're giving me is straight sexy/and I gotta do what your body tells me/'cause I meet expectations better yet exceed 'em ... when it comes to making love.\" And on \"Get U Loose,\" the lyrics seem to express the desire to get a girl drunk so she'll let him have his way with her. But there's also a lot of sweetness in songs like \"Make Ya Feel Beautiful\" (\"Baby, first off let me start by saying/I ain't trying to get in your jeans/first I'd rather learn your ups and downs/and everything in between\").

Is it any good?

Though mild by many other artists' standards, the innuendo on The Return is such a departure from Studdard's previous efforts that parents will notice the difference. But the newfound sophistication in these lyrics suits Ruben's voice to a T. Instrumental tracks are very synthesized and will make lovers of soul music long for a real band worthy of this wonderfully expressive voice.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Ruben's decision to sing sexier songs this time out. Why do you think he chose to change his nice-guy, cleancut image? He's also undergone a lifestyle change to eat healthier and lose weight. Do you think he's coming into his own or feeling pressure from the outside to make both artistic and physical changes in his life?

Music details

  • Artist: Ruben Studdard
  • Release date: October 17, 2006
  • Label: J Records
  • Genre: R&B
  • Parental advisory: No
  • Edited version available: No
  • Last updated: June 19, 2019

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