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Sunday, 24 June 2012


(Originally Published in 2010)


With 'Love Letter' the R writes some of his best songs yet.

OK so this 'Zodiac' may not be delivering on the promise of three solo albums this year but that doesn't matter right now. After an 'Epic' release ( Chicago Urban Soul legend R. Kelly writes us a 'Love Letter' just in time for the holidays. Lucky for those fans who don't name 'Untitled' as one of there favourite Kelz albums (a title that still deserves credit by the way) the R. in R&B is not doubling up on his club jams. Instead Kelly makes way for the slow jams with an album that is one part 'Happy People' and the other 'Loveland'. The perfect warm album for this frosty fall. Even from the 60's esque cover the singer looks like Ray Charles. Once again showing he's about to channel the greats from Marvin to Sammy as he furthers his discography and legendary status.

After a 'Love Letter (Prelude)' that again showcases the singers falsetto talent R. Kelly pens the albums title 'Love Letter'. This track is vintage Kelz and classic R&B from the first signature, soul harmonies. With uplifting lyrics in every verse including, "Sunny days, smiling face/Spirit filled, heaven praise /Memories in my mind/Reminiscing of good times/Miracles, so amazed". The singer gives more with 'A Love Letter Christmas',an extended wrapped up bonus which really is a gift that will get the steppers back on the floor.

The albums lead single 'When A Woman Loves' is the pick of this list however. A song that is as classic as 'When A Woman's Fed Up' but in many different ways. From the epic intro this is a big record that breaks Kelly back into the charts, just in a very different way. Kelly continues the love with three more tracks. With K. Michelle R. K draws a delightful duet on 'Love Is'. While the happy track 'Lost In Your Love' is uplifting to say the least, while the sad song 'Not Feelin The Love' is a great exercise in relationship analysis. Trademark Robert.

On the other wrong end of a bad breakup Kelz sounds honest and real with the poignant 'How Do I Tell Her'. This is another timeless R. Kelly ballad for the catalogue, as is 'Just Like That'. A song just as good as the also named 'Just Like That' off Kelly's classic 'TP-2. Com' album. After contributing to the 'Ali' motion picture soundtrack the king of R&B channels 'The Worlds Greatest' as he steals Muhammad's charming, charismatic, chat up line, crooning, "OK rest of me let's go". What results is a knockout track.

Kelly keeps the positive vibe going with slow songs to listen to while your in love. On 'Just Can't Get Enough' R. again proves he's Chi-towns finest after M.J. and on 'You Are Not Alone' R. Kelly pays tribute to another M.J., with a great cover of Michael Jackson's hit. The song that was orginally written by Robert for Michael feels even more poignant now with Kelly's lyrics about rembering lost loved ones (check his heartfelt intro). The R. also shadows another eccentric king of pop and R&B as 'Taxi Cab' catches Prince's classic themes of finding love (in any forms) in between the yellow and the meter. With great lyrics Kelz does not spare us the details, "Looking at the rear view she said to me let go and be free/Then she told the driver mind his business and then ... me/Then I told her/which is 15 minutes from my home/But she didn't stop, she kept saying it feels so incredible wrong". Once again this Christmas R. Kelly is naughty but nice.

Kelz aims for more chart success with the top notch, single worthy 'Number One Hit'. Than the legend goes double or nothing with 'Radio Message', preaching that he wants to bring love back to the radio and proving that this modern day basic R&B sound (one that he briefly adopted) has been getting old already. Through all the love devoted however Kelly still looks back to his first with 'Music Must Be My Lady'. A song as attractive as the beautiful women he sings about. The perfect lament, to expression, song-writing and the development of music. Captured perfectly in song.

Kelly's 'Love Letter' will be so well received it's almost a classic. Still post 'R' and 'Chocolate Factory' it's just a few tracks away from being one of the singers best scribes. With that being said however this is still one of the best choices of R. Kelly's catalogue. Critics may have started to write this man off but with 'Love Letter' the King of R&B makes a declaration that puts him back on the throne. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

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