Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Toro Magazine: Write Me Back Review

½ (out of 5)

In perhaps his most memorable routine comedian Aziz Ansari classifies R. Kelly as “a brilliant R&B singer slash crazy person.” Kelly’s eccentricity is apparent in videos, concerts, interviews, and public disgraces, but less in his actual music. Curious considering he has retained tight artistic control over it throughout his career.

Write Me Back, a soulful companion piece to Love Letter (2010) and a placeholder for the promised Black Panties (out next year, allegedly) doesn’t change that. It’s smooth, uplifting and devoid of more explicit material. The result is broadly appealing, a successful emulation of ‘70s pop radio that, without Kelly’s reputation, wouldn’t last a minute on today’s Billboard charts.

That soft touch, however, works in its favour; it’s been a while since I’ve heard love songs as genuinely innocent as “Love Is” and “Lazy Sunday” or a bedroom jam like “Green Light” that didn’t feel like the soundtrack to a phone sex line commercial. 

Write Me Back is successful enough in its chivalry and restraint that one could forget its creator has a past littered with such scandal.

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