Critics have fun with the absolutely ridiculous new R. Kelly album

R. Kelly wrote an album called Black Panties — that may be the only thing you need to know.

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Further trotting down the over-sexed path he has crafted for himself over the last two decades, R. Kelly may have finally gone over the line. The hyper-sexual and increasingly creepy soul singer has released a new album of tunes that hardly exemplify musical subtlety. With song titles like “Crazy Sex” and “Legs Shakin,” Kelly has continued to overplay his sex-crazed hand. In an age when Rihanna and Miley Cyrus promote the idea of having sex with them to sell albums — R. Kelly does not beat around the bush. He wants to have sex with you, and he wants you to have sex to his music.

Over the last several years, Kelly has successfully entered the ironic and nostalgic phase of his career. Like many artists his age, his years of creating new things are over. In return, he now brings the world an image and music that are a noted caricature of the soul singer he used to be. R. Kelly knows what people want to buy and listen to, and in his piece of the musical world — the answer is sex.

Is it possible for a piece of art to go overboard with one topic? That is the question that critics have tried to answer with this puzzling and almost unbelievable new record.

Reviews of the album highlight just how absurd the controversial minimal talent has truly become.

From the Los Angeles Times:

Perhaps that’s simply Kelly shoring up his street cred following the collaboration with Bieber, an approach that almost certainly accounts for the drab “My Story,” in which he and 2 Chainz insist that becoming famous — going “from being broke to sleeping in Versace shirts,” as Kelly puts it — hasn’t softened them.

But amid all the bluster and pornography, there’s also an appealingly indignant streak to much of “Black Panties” that feels like Kelly’s response to newcomers who might be inclined to reduce him to caricature. It’s a classic bait-and-switch that toys with our expectations and our appetite for titillation.

The New York Daily News:

In the right hands (or tongues or genitals, perhaps), this kind of stuff can be funny — like when the genuinely transgressive singer Millie Jackson mined this turf back in the 1970s.

But Kelly’s groin-play does not elicit similar screams, because his lyrics are so flawed. You can’t help smiling when he takes credit for “every child born around the world from the ’90s on up,” but there’s an instructional element to his writing that stops eros cold.

Kelly describes sex in ways either so acrobatic they sound tiring, or so clinical they seem gynecological.

It’s not that these songs revolve around sex that is disturbing, but that they relegate the women involved to the lowly position of sex objects, receptacles to be filled with R. Kelly’s sexual prowess, dancers there to pique his sexual interest, or minions over whom he can exercise his power by throwing cash at them. His duet with Kelly Rowland, “All the Way”, is a departure from this, but instead equates sex with cheating and addiction: “I’m right back smoking you/ You’re right back injecting me.” The sex anthems that could be embraced by both genders as end of the night theme songs are mostly absent.

R. Kelly likes sex. A lot. Always has and probably always will.

What sets his 12th studio album, “Black Panties” (RCA), apart from the rest of the work is that he’s really only singing about sex now. No “I Believe I Can Fly” here. No sex-related “hip-hopera” like “Trapped in the Closet.” He doesn’t even use euphemisms for sex like “Ignition” very much anymore, though he can add “Cookie” to that list. (When he talks about Oreos and declares himself a “cookie monster,” he’s talking about, um, something else.)

Kelly is now just putting his sex talk out there unvarnished. “Crazy Sex” is pretty straightforward with lines like “Let’s do it on the balcony, let everybody watch, we don’t care ’cause we’re in our zone.” On “Every Position,” he declares, “I wanna do it, do it, do it, in every position.” And, there is the soon-to-be-famous “Marry the —- ,” where he declares his love for a certain part of the female anatomy 57 times.

What do you think?

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