"Write Me Back"
(***1/2 Out Of Four Stars)
By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs, Editor-In-Chief
With his latest CD, "Write Me Back," R. Kelly shows that his musical versatility extends far beyond the raw, bump 'n' grind sound that defined him throughout much of the 1990s.
That's when the prolific, singer/songwriter and producer lit up the R&B charts with not only hit records from his multi-platinum and award winning albums, "R" and "12 Play," but with songs he also wrote for others like P. Diddy, Aaliyah and Michael Jackson.
"Write Me Back" is Kelly's 11th studio album and a stellar follow up to his 2010 CD "Love Letter." However, on "Write Me Back," Kelly gets even more soulful this time around. The sexy, crooner channels '50s, '60s and even '70s soul music on cuts like the Sam Cooke, sounding anthem, "Party Jumping" and echoes of Johnny Bristol and even Frankie Beverly and Maze can be heard on the beautiful track, "Share my Love."
Kelly doesn't abandon his south Chicago stepping groove either as evidenced on the bouncy and flirty number, "Feeling Single."
Other noteworthy songs on "Write Me Back" include: "Lady Sunday," and the nice, bluesy "All Rounds on Me." "Fool for You" sounds like a song Motown founder Berry Gordy would have loved.
Over the years Kelly has wowed fans with his vocal dexterity which ranges from soft and sexy, to powerful and rugged especially on the booming songs, "When a Man Lies" and "Believe in Me."
If Kelly is looking to expand his musical base without alienating his true fans, he just may have succeeded. "Write Me Back" will attract R&B and soul music lovers to his bandwagon, while his old school fans will still crank up the volume and enjoy the ride.