Love Letter By R. Kelly
Although he hasn't won an award since 2003, R&B singer-songwriter, arranger, performer and record-producer R. Kelly has devoted an incredible amount of attention to well-documented legal troubles and to defending himself in court. To the delight of his fans throughout the world, Kelly found time between hearings to write, record and debut a new album late last year. It is only now, after nearly two and a half months of non-stop listening, that I finally feel prepared to write about these fresh beats and their oceanic abysses of creativity.
Unlike some of his more spoken-word albums, Love Letter exhibits R. Kelly's unusually gifted musical abilities. His notes carry on like homeless people in the street and his words resound like butter on a hot sidewalk as he channels the tunes of the Temptations.
The artist occasionally known as "The Pied Piper Kells" has an extraordinary ability to compose brilliant rhymes using the complex, but reliably dramatic ABAB form. Cleverly, his musical sonnets depend on the dramatic relationships between minimalist words like "all" and "call."
Love Letter is a shockingly personal album, like nothing ever before seen from the Kells. The King of Repetition confesses to his fans that he has, among other things, "Made love in a taxi cab" but that somehow he's still "Not feeling the love." Certainly anyone who listened to this CD would proclaim, "Kelly, we still believe you can fly!"
Fans will be pleased that Love Letter, like all of Kelly's other albums, contains layer-cake messages. For those who do not have background in Philosophy, Psychology or Sociology, and do not feel capable of approaching these solid metaphors alone, fans can watch R. Kelly's synoptic three-part documentary on Youtube: "It's like the ghost of Christmas," Kelly says, because this collection of songs can "Take you places." Kelly refers to "Love Letter" as "One Big Single" in which he is "Reaching his arms out real big, musically." This is no fluff.
R. Kelly's, known for his wit and high academic achievements, is sure to inspire thousands of fans with the albums title song. Besides highlighting Kelly's ability to croon, the smart song teaches listeners two new words: "Tex" and "Ax":
Tex - (v. originating from the English for "to text") to send messages by means of a cellular device
Ax - (v.) to inquire about; to seek an answer to; (archaic) to ask
Learning is fun again.
My only complaint is that the album sleeve didn't have more low-res photos of Kelly's brawny bod lubricated with baby oil, or of his hair immaculately pulled back into corn rows so as not to cover the enormous diamonds that protrude from his big ear lobes.
Read Zachary Block's review of Love Letter here:
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