R. Kelly's Write Me Back is both genius and idiotic
Album Review: R 'n' B legend R Kelly returns with
Write Me Back, a selection of Philly soul gems that would make Stevie
No one can get a handle on R Kelly. He’s faced legal charges that would end most artists’ career but somehow prospered.
He’s made videos – the remarkable Trapped In The Closet series
– that suggest he’s either an unembarrassable imbecile or a man
dripping with postmodern self-awareness. He’s a genius – and an idiot.
Even he’s not sure anymore.
His 11th studio album showcases dismal slush-like bonus track
One Step Closer (‘make sure you’ve got that nothing on and you’re
waiting for me, baby’) and rubbish 1950s rock’n’roll pastiches (All
Rounds On Me, Party Jumpin’).
Yet he also makes blissful, uptempo, string-soaked Philly soul
gems like Love Is, Fool For You and Feelin’ Single, and writes ballads
(Clipped Wings) and bossa novas (Believe That It’s So) that wouldn’t
shame Stevie Wonder in his prime. He’s really rather good, you know.