R Kelly and the return of the Gentleman

R. Kelly’s new single and music video for “When A Woman Loves” shows him in a way that we really haven’t seen since the beginning of his career and during some of his most successful hits, clean cut, sharp and well dressed. He appears to be focused and ready to go back to the business of creating good music. Time has certainly pass and many artists, new and old have surfaced in the midst of his downfall. While he was off fighting charges of child pornography and making ridiculous albums like the 22 chapter series “Trapped in the Closet,” albums like NeYo’s “Year of the Gentleman,” Maxwell’s “BLACKsummers’night” and Raphael Saddiq’s “The Way I See It” were left to filled a void left by Kelly. All great singers in their own right have created a distinctive sound amongst a sea of autotune singers. These artists not only provided us with good music, but returned to a look and sound reminiscent of the glory days of R & B music or as some may say, “Classic Soul.” Today, as back then, slim suits, white shirts and skinny ties are the standard look. Performers like The Temptations, Four Tops, Sam Cooke, Otis Redding and a young Marvin Gaye were the poster boys of not only the look but the sound of great soul music.

Its no surprise that male artists, particularly those who are considered part of the “Neo Soul” sound would want to return to the pureness of that time. This was the height of Rhythm and Blues, when Soul music became the image and sound of a new Black America. Fast forward 40yrs. and those who consider themselves, “Grown and Sexy” are tired of the sloppy, tatted up autotune singer. We want real music and R. Kelly looks like he is ready to give it to us.

So, will R Kelly fit into this resurgence of 60’s soul music, with his new retro look and sound. There is no doubt that he is a extremely talented singer/songwriter/producer, who allowed his personal trouble not only overshadow his talent but almost destroy it. Its too early to determine if this new style and sound will have a positive effect on the trouble R&B singer. It’s obvious that he has moved on, but have we!!! Is good music all we need to mend a broken heart??? Only records sales will tell how forgiving we are a music buying audience. Good Luck R, you’ll need it!


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