Saturday, 23 June 2012
REVIEW: R. KELLY-WRITE ME BACK
Classic Kelz To The Letter.
The 'R' in R&B is back. The legendary R. Kelly returns with an album that shows the R is even more soulful these days with his modern, mainstream music. The R&B king was always bigger than his genre. Writing and producing songs for the likes of Michael Jackson and Celine Dion as well as guys like Usher and Tyrese. The man with more classics in R&B than there seems artists forged himself as the next great soul man in the nighties. Tracks like 'I Believe I Can Fly', 'If I Could Turn Back The Hands Of Time' and classic records like '12 Play' and the double dominance of 'R' helped put this man as the next in line of the great soul men of decades gone. Kelly literally has forged a career that has put him there with the likes of Marvin Gaye, Al Green, Sam Cooke and Donny Hathaway.
The reason the R is right there with the legends is because of his ability to create his own sound and style all whilst appealing to the mainstream fans. Take one of his biggest hits 'Ignition' for example. This club happy number came off the soul influenced smash album 'Chocolate Factory' an album that spurned soul classics like 'You Knock Me Out', 'You Made Me Love You' and 'Step In The Name Of Love'. The latter inspired the 'Happy People' feel-good, classic album that harked back to the classic days of real soul and positive emotion. Then two years back Kelly pushed the envelope yet again with the album 'Love Letter' featuring new classics like 'Radio Message', 'Just Can't Get Enough', 'Just Like That' and 'How Do I Tell Her'. Which was devoted to classic, chivalrous soul dedicated to love and happiness.
Now it's time for a rewrite as the singer/songwriter returns with 'Write Me Back'. Following his 'Love Letter's' critical acclaim in the press prose this Chicago star furthers the new music inspired by classics of decades gone. Just like when fellow Windy City legend Common backed up his beautiful, inspiring 'Be' with his 'Finding Forever' music Kelz is going back-to-back on classic good times. Raphael Saadiq better watch out, his new/old styling has some real competition. Just like Ray Ray from his great, iconic 'The Way I See It' to his latest 'Stone Rollin'', Kelz has taken the classic sound from his last album and upgraded it a decade to show not only that he's still got it but he's also no one trick pony. The man with such a vast and classic discography brings another class disc to the catalogue.
'When A Woman Loves' made R. Kelly's last album and career comeback and on this release 'When A Man Lies' shows the other side of this mans relationship analysis music. The 'When A Woman's Fed Up' singer is back with the traditional harmonies that sing louder than his previous more sexed up releases. At this rate next years 'Black Panties' will want to be covered up by more of this great music that keeps the good times stone rollin'. Even though Kelly talks about "populating" on the Philadelphia feeling lead-single 'Share My Love', this album plays it safe...well only in subject. In style this album pushes more boundaries and therefore breaks even newer ground for the singer.
From the colorful, throwback New York Saturday night-esque artwork to the up-tempo, party starting beginnings of 'Love Is' this album is live. 'Feelin' Single' is a worthy second single in it's own right, while 'Lady Sunday' is a woman praising new classic you'll fall in love with by weeks end. The beautiful break-up ballad 'Clipped Wings' is a new, forgiving classic that is one of the realest and honest songs this singer has ever wrote. R laments "Sunny days, I promised you /Life’s window pain /With a perfect view /A vow to love, unconditional/Be there for you, all season/And baby I never meant to clip your wings, oh my love" with perfect lyrics.
'Believe That It's So' raises the tempo and feel-good factor even more before R. Kelly buys out the bars with 'All Rounds On Me'. The clever 'Fool For You' and the perfectly pleading 'Believe In Me' brings us more confidence in this legends musical smarts. This album that's more tailored to the clubs of years back suits up and keeps things going with 'Green Light' and 'Party Jumpin', before finishing strong with the all-encompassing 'Share My Love'.
It's clear R. Kelly has stepped back in the name of love to his new letter and the deluxe edition of this disc shows us more devotions to this for the record. 'Beautiful In This Mirror' is a perfect reflection of this as is the ultimate heart-filled declaration of 'You Are My World' which channels R's late, legendary friend Michael Jackson (Kelly covered 'You Are Not Alone'-a song he wrote for Mike-on his last disc) and 'Fallin' From The Sky'. With the finale of 'One Step Closer' this singer steps further to the greats of soul music cutting a rug and making music of the past move to the dance-floors of today. With R. Kelly's latest writing he takes it back-and therefore forward-even further. Expect more love letters for this singer, signed, sealed and delivered. TIM DAVID HARVEY.