Album Review: UntitledÂ
By Sam Johnson
R. Kelly has come a long way since his early days of giving us that honey love with his born in the 90s debut. We have seen several versions of Robert Kelly throughout his musical transformation. There’s the motivating philosopher who gave us the hits “I believe I can fly” and The World’s Greatest; then there’s the smooth operator who taught us how to “Step in the name of Love” and what to do “When a woman’s fed up;” the R. Kelly we’ve grown to love who said we gotta keep it on the Down Low. With his latest album “Untitled” Kelly tried to do something that few artist are capable of doing and is probably one of the most challenging measures for one to achieve. He came full circle by giving us a sample of the R. Kelly of the early 90s, the new millennium Kellz, while still keeping his ear to the street enough to break the Jay-Z rules of using auto tunes.
The album opens with “Crazy City” featuring R. City an upbeat party song that will definitely get a lot of spins in the club and has a hypnotic bass line that one will easily get lost in while listening. “Whole lotta kisses” is a phenomenal ballad that sounds like a lost classic that didn’t make the final cut on one of his earlier albums. “Number 1″ featuring Keri Hilson is a surprisingly good collaboration as Kelly mixes the down south chopped and screwed signature, with a spice a T-Pain auto tunes, and tops it off with Keri Hilson’s vocals of gold.
“Untitled” has a plethora of songs that gave the album plenty of potential. On “Religious” he speaks about how the woman he’s in a relationship inspired him to be a better person stating “there’s something religious about you/there’s something church about you”. “Text me” is a simple song that puts a special emphasis on what texting does for a relationship on just how reading a few words from that special someone can brighten your day. On “Elsewhere” he talks about how love is worth fighting for. In this song he has put up a fight for love to keep the relationship going even though it has placed a stronghold on his life. However, even though he loves the woman, he believes and convinces himself that she’ll be happy elsewhere despite the fact that she won’t admit her true feelings to him.
Overall this album is not one of Kelly’s best due to the curse know as “too many creative juices flowing”. The album appears unbalanced when he has the last four songs on the album appearing as ballads but has filler songs like “I love the DJ,” “Be my #2,” and “Supaman High” that easily give away that Kelly is trying to keep street and club credibility which we all know is not his flavor. If the album would have kept its original theme with perhaps one or two party tracks it would have been up to par with some of his greatest works. But then again we can’t fault him for striving to gain a wider audience while trying to keep current with the times. Let’s just hope that there is more structure the next time he decides to take this type of detour.
R. Kelly Untitled: B-