R Kelly - Happy People, U Saved Me

Tuesday 1st March 2005
R Kelly - Happy People, U Saved Me
R Kelly - Happy People, U Saved Me

RATING 6 6 6 6 6 6
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 11468-10310
LABEL: Jive 82876615082

Reviewed by Mike Rimmer


In the sleevenotes, R Kelly thanks Marvin Gaye for inspiration in recording this album and it seems an apt choice for a role model considering the schizophrenic nature of Kelly's career matches that of Gaye at his peak. Both men want a relationship with the Almighty but have a large reputation for indulging in the pleasures of the flesh. Sadly in Kelly's case, it gets worse than simply bedding the lay-deez as he currently faces trial for underage sex and child pornography. So in the midst of his own personal sex scandal, what does the king of bump'n'grind do? Releases a schizophrenic album that neatly pitches his "I just wanna see all your clothes drop to the floor" R&B sexiness (admittedly a little more chaste than past performances) on 'Happy People' with a pile of gospel songs on 'U Saved Me'. If anything highlights the confusion in Kelly's head, this is the album. As a master performer, R Kelly's R&B is undoubtedly world class but what about his emergence as a gospel singer? Unfortunately when it comes to making gospel music, lifestyle is always an issue because we have an expectation that gospel artists will clean up their act and the fact that he's released this as a double CD actually mitigates against him. What fellowship do bump'n'grind and gospel have together? Sadly, none! What Kelly doesn't understand is that gospel has to come from the very soul of a man and too many of these songs sound like he's pasted together a bunch of made up testimonies, especially on the title cut and "Prayer Changes" which do not sit well. He's saying the right things but has he lived this stuff? These feel like songs about cheap grace. Kelly done wrong? Here's a pat on the head from Jesus. I'm left wondering whether he is truly repentant or just sorry he got caught? I pray that he truly has encountered Christ and that future releases reflect this, however I fear that if he doesn't truly leave the flesh behind he'll be haunted his whole life like Gaye. As far as this album goes, there's little to inspire as it's gospel by numbers. Ultimately, he may be the R in R&B but he ain't the G in Gospel.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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