Kelz mines some gold whilst compiling his platinum hits.
The R in R&B begins his 2010 epic fall release schedule with the first of three albums. The studio albums 'Zodiac' and 'Love Letter' will follow the latest compilation release of R. Kellys vast library of hits. After his greatest hits and his remix album 'Remix City Volume 1' Robert Kelly cuts a disc consisting of all his inspiring, stadium and movie esque power ballads. Needless to say Kelly entitles this hits collection 'Epic' and the sound of the album is the definition of this in the same way that it's singer has defined rhythm and blues for decades.
'Epic' displays the range and depth of this mans talents. A singer who can take it to the club, church or the bedroom and still every time never look like he's leaving his comfort zone. This album includes some classics which are among everyones favourite R. Kelly songs including the uplifting 'I Believe I Can Fly' and the inspirational 'The Worlds Greatest'. The compilation also includes 4 new songs which previously unreleased are worthy to stand next to the hits on a CD that is full of favourites and not filler.
The albums first cut is one of the deepest. 'Heal It (Prelude)' proves that even on an intro Kelz can still draw the holy spirit. His lead single 'Sign Of A Victory' (which was this years South Africa World Cup official anthem) is a testament to the fact that even though he moves with the times the R's more motivational signature sound still has relevance today right from the studio to the stadium. The other new epics 'Fireworks' and 'Can You Feel It' further expand Kelly's feel good repertoire. It's the Obama tribute 'I Believe' however that stands out even amongst his oldest and truest classics. The song really captures the change, joy and hope that came with the Presidents inauguration with lyrics like, "You endured to the end /Walked through the strongest wind /The storm's over /And a new day begins". The dediction is uplifitng and references other Kelly epic's like 'The Storm Is Over Now' (which is surprisingly absent on this collection). His ode to the worlds leader is his best 'Epic' work since 'The Worlds Greatest'.
Older fans of the more vintage R. Kelly will be please with this collection as although he's still made hits with albums like 'Double Up' and 'Untitled' it does seem Roberts spent the last few years 'Trapped In The Club' which has left some fans more hungover than Bradley Cooper. This album also shouldn't just be viewed as another cashing in project. It's the perfect mix for those fans who can only tolerate one side of the R&B swingman. Also the album is a just the right tonic of big hits ('If I Could Turn Back The Hands Of Time') and house favourites (Like 'U Saved Me's', 'Peace' or 'Spirit'). This release is also perfect for Kelly's growing fan base of new lovers who may not know that with 'I'm Your Angel' Kelly recorded a surprisingly refreshing duet with Celine Dion who would probably more likely be seen at a wine club than an 'Ignition' club jeep party dancing to 'Slow Wind'.
Even though he uses old techniques and goes off old form Kelly aims for the fence with his first strike of 2010 and hits big. He builds the anticipation for his next two pitches well with a collection of his hall of fame moments. 'Epic' overall is a concise and selectively sound mix which has fans now eager to read the 'Love Letters' of this 'Zodiac'. With that being said however epic songs like 'Rise Up' and 'Happy People' to name just two could have also been added to the mixture. In fact with Kelly songbook that rivals the greats this compilation could have easily went into double disc territory. Still with this album Kelly paints a picture that is as 'Epic' as promised even if a directors cut edition would of provided more of an epos. TIM DAVID HARVEY.