* Prices may differ from that shown
R. Kelly released his "Untitled" ninth album in 2009. It finds that the R&B veteran (who made his breakthrough in 1991 as the lead singer of Public Announcement). Here he makes his comeback after a relatively short time out dealing with personal issues and getting back to form as he moves on from his 2007 release "Double Up".
The album kicks off with a straight banger of a track and one that you simply won't be able to ignore if you are down with the trends of R&B through 2008 and 2009. It finds him working with Rock City, one of whom come out with a heavy Dancehall toast over the thing to link in with Kells' choice to do it all with a Caribbean accent as he sings and half-raps to what can be called his version of Ron Browz' "Pop Champagne".
Here we see that he comes out with a tune that seems to calm things down a little bit from the hyped club atmosphere towards one that is set in the same sort of place, but finds him calming it all down so that its a lot more accessible to listeners who have followed his work through the years and haven't necessarily followed what the rest of the R&B world has had to say during this time. It is another very strong one and holds up well off the last one.
With this one we find that Kells gets down into a track that has him moving straight back towards the direction that many know about him (especially when you consider the singles off his debut solo album "12 Play" with "Sex Me", "Bump 'N' Grind" and "Your Body's Callin'" all included). Personally, I found it to be a little too much like the work of Trey Songz (who has criticized Kells in the past for trying not to sound like himself), but it is still another good one.
4."Bangin' The Headboard"
The singer's freakiness steps up a level as he turns towards this one and we see that he really doesn't give any room for the imagination as he explains what he wants to do with his girl. It is another that takes a lot from Trey Songz (who openly claims to have been heavily-influenced by R. Kelly's career), and so it can be pulled-up for that, but I felt that it did its job when taking things towards the bedroom.
We see that here we get a track that really does sound like Kelly has gone right back to his old material and just brought it up to contemporary times. Referring to this as the fourth quarter of "12 Play", he brings up connotations of his early, freaky work, of which he brings more of here as he does one that is solely produced by himself and sounds just like he did in the mid-nineties and makes for one of the best jams here.
6."Whole Lotta Kisses"
Herehe does another that has a bit of a throwback feel to it whereby we have a jam that has just Kells behind the beats and he constructs one with lots of smooth synth to set the mood and bring about a modern-day version that a lot of the Soul material of the seventies was able to produce in a way that sounds rather subtle and so doesn't seem as though he's gone over-the-top in attempting to make it sound that way.
7."Like I Do"
We see that things are brought right up to 2009 here, as we find that Los Da Maestro comes to contribute to the beats here and he does a great job at making it all come together in a way that shows that they complement each other well. The only issue I had with this one was that the hook that its been given sounds rather clumsy and I felt that he sacrificed the flows of the words for meaning and so it sounds a little forced, but it is generally a strong one.
The first single to the album, this one finds R. Kelly linking up with Keri Hilson for another fly jam that shows that he still has a place in this game. It is one that may need mainstream listeners a while to adpat to, but I felt that it was a very good one from him and did its job at setting up the album. It is the final in a string consecutive of tracks that have his freakiness directed as the main topic to the music.
9."I Love The DJ"
I have to say that I was disappointed to see this one come into the album as here we see that Kells simply cannot help but go down the root of incorporating the Euro-House sound into his music as he attempts to make more of an effort to show (possibly out of desperation) that he deserves to still be heard. Here he gets into material that sounds as though it could easily have bene done by The-Dream or Taio Cruz and its not something I can really get down to at all and so it lead to a massive downfall here.
For me the quality of things was lifted, although I can't say that this one is close to being for everyone as we see that here we get a tune that has him making a great go at pulling Hip Hop back into his music. He goes about this by jumping on top of one of the dopest beats from the record (one assisted by Willy Will) and he also recruits an unexpected choice in the Atlanta Trap-Rap artist OJ Da Juiceman (known as one of the worst lyricists in the game) however it makes for a straight banger.
11."Be My #2"
Initially the Funk on this one blew me away and I felt that it was one of the best tracks that R. Kelly had been able to produce in a very long time. Its not for everyone, but the choice to throw donw a little something funky appealed greatly to me. However, looking ito it, it soon became apparent that all he had done here is jacked Ryan Leslie's formula for "You're Not My Girl" with a track with a pure early-eighites Funk feel mixed in with a song which concerns a girl who can't quite reach the status of being looked up to as his 'main girl'. I can still get down with it, but it shows just how much his creativity is lacking.
It would appear that he simply can't stay away from the freaky songs for long as he gets right back to tat kind of thing here and comes up with a song that has him shifting the direction of the music in order to show just how much room there is within a subject matter that could be rather constrictive if you don't know what you're doing, however he manages to find another gap in the game to kill it once more.
Not to be confused with the "Religious Love" he brought on his second solo album (a self-entitled record) this one finds that Kelly comes out with a smooth one and a track that sees him showing how his song-writing is coming along in more traditional R&B style, and although he may have been able to do well at showing he can do this too, it wasn't my thing and I thought it was a poor choice for the second single.
Keeping to the slower end of the thing, we see that here we get an emotive one and another that showcases his ability to come out with varied material that suits a range of occasions. We see that one this one he brings forward a powerful tune that has him singing about his thoughts concerning a girl who is moving out of his life as he attempts to make himself better by thinking of how she'll be happy where she is.
Featuring a dream line-up of R. Kelly, The-Dream, Tyrese and Robin Thicke, this one is a nice way to end off the album as the four R&B singers do a great job at singing about just how far an affair has got, where they have got from the stage where they can't do without that special girl in their life and so they want to give them a reason for them not to want to end what they have going on.
I felt that this was a great album for R. Kelly and one that may do what a lot of his past ones have done whereby he steals from a lot of the other up-and-comers in the R&B game in order to boost his work, but he still manages to make it all work in ways you wouldn't expect. There's nothing innovative this time around, but his ability to take things back to the nineties can't be matched by many others who are still currently in the game.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Crazy Night
4 Bangin' the Headboard
5 Go Low
6 Whole Lotta Kisses
7 Like I do
8 Number One
9 I Love The DJ
10 Supaman High
11 Be My #2
12 Text Me
16 Fallen From The Sky - bonus track