Album Review: R. Kelly - Untitled

Posted by Mack of Sound-Savvy On 4:28 PM

Artist: R. Kelly
Album: Untitled
Release Date: 11.30.09

Over the years, there are a few things we’ve grown to expect from an R. Kelly album – sexuality, enticing imagery, and great music – but he’s undeniably at his best when there’s an even balance of the Kellz trifecta. With Untitled, Kellz dials down the extra nonsense that plagued his previous albums, instead giving an intense focus on the music first, allowing everything else to fall properly into place. Gone is the endless soap opera drama and even his R&B thug persona took a backseat on most of this record. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the reintroduction of R. Kelly.

Though the album opens on a high note with the percussive club jam Crazy Night and moves into the afterparty salute Exit, Kelly quickly reels things in with some bedroom boom. It’s the slower numbers that dominate this album, much to the desire of his widespread fanbase. Sexual in nature, Echo is a true testament to Kelly’s unfaded musical ability, characterized by reverberated yodels – another signature Kellz move. The intimacy gets deep on the more literal Bangin The Headboard and the gloves are completely off with the ode to oral pleasure Go Low (“grab my ears and pull my face, tonight I’ll be givin’ you brain…” ). Whole Lotta Kisses smooths things out, evoking his 90’s style of subtle lyricism, and underpowered production – a definite standout. In contrast, Like I Do and the lead single Number One fuse Kelly’s signature sound with some new-age production, the latter featuring the steamy co-pilot Keri Hilson. Closing out the album are two ballads that would make any of his R&B counterparts envious: the sensitive crooning of Elsewhere which is a personal favorite and the mega-track Pregnant featuring The Dream, Robin Thicke and Tyrese.

For all its good, the album sees its share of disappointment, mostly on the upbeat club-themed tracks. It’s true that the album wouldn’t be “well-rounded” without some variance, but tracks like Supaman High and Be My #2 just don’t work well with the flow of the album and throw off the continuity quite a bit. Religious is another underwhelming track and Text Me sounds okay but I haven’t heard a sexting song that lit a good fire since Raheem’s Text Messages.

Untitled has a lot more good than bad and although it shouldn’t be considered classic, it’s definitely a much-needed return to form for the man who’s music increased the surplus population through much of the 90’s and the 00’s. Kelly’s strength lies in his ability to create good relatable music, not gimmicky music for younger generations. Quite a few joints to keep in rotation here so light the candles and set the mood, Kellz is back on it…

Shouts to my Facebook Fam for the Kellz debate, made me listen to this joint more 'intently'... Jade, Sherrod, thanks for always supportin!

Sound-Savvy officially rates Untitled with 3.5 out of 5 platinum headphones.

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