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4.5 out of 5 stars
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4.5 out of 5 stars
Format: Audio CD|Change
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on 27 November 2014
Horrible. I'm a lover of R Kelly's older jams and wasn't expecting something quite so off-topic. Some artists should stick to what they know. A certain amount of experimentation is all very well but too much of this album just sounds badly cobbled together, cheap, jarring and auto-tuned to me. And by the way...Auto-tune for R Kelly? What gives? This album will be heading for relative's stocking this Christmas...A relative I don't like very much. I'm sure some music intellectual somewhere will attack my opinion and chastise me for 'not getting it' but, as far as I'm concerned this doesn't work. It's just bad.
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on 10 July 2012
Longevity isn't a word that features significantly in much of what is termed 'Urban' music, and recent years have certainly witnessed a slew of young male singers eager to claim their place on the soul stage, before disappearing almost as quickly as they arrived. In this regard R Kelly is certainly to be commended for his sheer ability to ride the waves of different styles and sounds since his emergence with Public Announcement in the early 1990s. 'Write Me Back' follows on from 2010's 'Love Letter', and bears many of the markers of that album, with iconography that clearly looks back to an ealier time in history and music. As before, the question is, does the music support the imagery?

The album opens with the driving 'Love Is', recorded in Chicago but certainly bearing the influence of the sound of Philadelphia and the unashamedly celebratory lyrics. This is certainly one deserving of a longer mix, with more fully articulated strings. The tempo shifts down for 'Feelin' Single', based loosely on the Bill Withers and Skip Scarborough classic 'Lovely Day', replete with a string arrangement and groove that bounces along very nicely, allowing Kelly's voice the space to shine. 'Lady Sunday' is similarly executed, being another celebration of love ('Miss Godly, Miss Righteous, Miss Hallelujah, take my hand, be my future') that is likely to work well on any self-respecting dancefloor, being a clear contender for issuing as a single. Kelly has never forgotten his roots in the church, and 'When A Man Lies' is soaked in the sounds of the church and the blues, telling the ages old story of infidelity, pain and regret, in an entirely modern production. 'Clipped Wings' follows in a similar vein, with a vocal arrangement that (to this listener) wouldn't sound out of place on a BLACKStreet album. 'Believe That It's So', in structure and melody is suggestive of Stevie Wonder, but the coda looks back to 'Step In The Name Of Love', a track that continues to permeate Kelly's writing (as it did on 'Love Letter'). Indeed it becomes clear that Kelly's ability to write songs that sound familiar, either through deliberate quotation or respectful imitation, threads thoughout the album, with 'Fool For You', 'All Rounds On Me' and 'Party Jumpin'' all referencing earlier sounds and styles. Arguably 'Green Light' and 'Believe In Me' reflect the production styles and writing of more recent years, whilst 'Share My Love' is undoubtedly a track likely to appeal to UK soul audiences and beyond, delivering an effortlessly feet and ear friendly groove. The Deluxe editions of the album feature four extra tracks, with 'Beautiful In This Mirror' perhaps intended for a different aesthetic, 'You Are In My World' featuring stylistic borrowings from the late Michael Jackson (particularly the ending vocal scatting from 'Remember The Time') and 'One Step Closer' initially suggesting Marvin Gaye's 'Distant Lover'.

So. Do you buy?

If 'Love Letter' represented a break away from the previous stylistic trappings adopted by Kelly this album develops and extends that apparent intention, which means that listeners will undoubtedly hear musical motifs from other songs abounding throughout, with the writing being evidence of Kelly's familiarity with the greats from the pantheon of black music. Whatever the questions this might raise there is absolutely no doubting Kelly's voice, which retains the versatility, range and absolute assuredness to undertake such a project. If there is a doubt it may stem from the naggging feeling that the production isn't quite up to the standards of the vocals, and one wonders what might emerge if Kelly was being driven by a demanding and imaginative producer of equal talent.

In summary, following on from 'Love Letter' this album will sound and feel warmly familiar. There are no co-vocalists or rappers (thereby avoiding a cliche that has plagued many recent soul releases) and like it's predecessor it is a commercial R&B / Soul album intended for grown ups.

It is another good album and is a good buy - but Kelly is undoubtedly capable of greater things.

8/10
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on 29 June 2012
Chocolate Factory,TP2.com, TP3 reloaded and Happy People are a few of the classic R kelly albums which Im afraid this does not match up to. I own every album released by R Kelly but I can not hear the originality produced in his earlier albums. There are too many songs on here with too much similarity to Tavares, Bill Withers and previous recordings that I have found myself humming Heaven must be missing an angel and Lovely day!
Saying that tho , R Kelly is still and always will be a prolific singer songwriter but I would urge anyone buying him for the first time to go seek out his earlier albums.
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on 6 June 2013
Whether you are a R Kelly fan or not, this CD is his best to date. No rapping here, just a full album of great songs to listen to, which has become one of our all time favourites. Besides the great " Share My Love" and "Lady Sunday" there are several other tracks that will have you singing at the top of your voice. Great cd for making those long drives fly by. R.Kelly was knocked for the CD but we hope that he makes another Retro type CD soon, as we can highly recommend this one!
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on 4 July 2012
well what can i say, firstly delivery was quite slow but boy it was worth the wait!! i love r-kelly and this has some great upbeat songs. was dancing round my house to the beat definatly one of his best albums recently love it love it!! buy it!!!!
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on 25 June 2012
I own all of R Kelly's albums, i love nearly all of them and this doesn't disappoint either. Very refreshing and as per usual the vocals are amazing. My favourite track is love is
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on 5 June 2013
Bought for 1 track Share My Love and found several good tracks besides this have since bought several R.Kelly cds and this is one of the better ones.
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on 16 November 2012
my wife bought me this cd for my birthday i have never stopped playing it absolutely brill if r&b is your thing then get this no rapping just beautiful singing top man r kelly
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on 14 February 2013
Really love the album, but do not like the track All rounds on me , not me at all have to keep skipping it, but the rest of the album is fab, very up beat.
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on 27 September 2012
R.kelly, just knows how to drop the lyrics and the arrangement for the songs he sings.....Great, just great. He is the best out there with the new artists.
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