In Robert Kelly’s long legacy it would seem that there’s nothing he hasn’t done yet. The man known as R. Kelly proves that to be untrue on his latest album, the 11th full body of work in his career. Kelly also proves that there’s nothing he can’t do, simply put, the undisputed King of R & B lives. R. Kelly Write Me Back, the follow-up for his 2011 album, Love Letter, continues right where the last project left off. R. Kelly is no longer just making albums, he’s making timeless records to cement a legacy and sustain through generations.
While Love Letter was his ode to music of the 50’s and 60’s, Write Me Back is more into the 70’s, but its still much more than that. At times it sounds like he’s remixed classic hits but the signature R. Kelly flare can’t be mistaken. Whether its funk, jazz, soul or country, Kelly finds a way to insert it onto this project, but elegantly and with finesse.
From the beginning with “Love Is,” R. Kelly injects a classical feel on the album. Songs like “When A Man Lies” and “Clipped Wings” define this album, both of which are in the same vein as the album’s first single, “Share My Love.” On songs like “Party Jumpin'” and “All Rounds On Me” he shows a carefree, party element, on the latter even slipping into a disco melody you would think he pulled right out of a 70’s movie.
There is so much diversity on the album, but you have to appreciate Kelly’s ability to walk the fine line of creating a complete album, the beauty of being the album’s only producer (though he gets production help from Warryn Campbell on one song). Usher’s recent release tries to walk a similar line but fails to find the success Kelly does.
There are too many quality songs on Write Me Back to single out favorites but “Green Light” is one to listen out for. Its like something Kelly wrote for Ronald Isley a few years ago, but kept for himself because it was perfect for a project of this magnitude.
Tank’s This Is How I Feel offers a tough competition, but R. Kelly Write Me Back is the best album of the year thus far.