Write Me Back

R. Kelly's second consecutive throwback soul LP moves forward in time from the raw mid-Sixties-style belting of 2010's Love Letter. Write Me Back is suave, string-swathed Seventies revivalism, with tips of the hat to Barry White, Off the Wall-era Michael Jackson and Marvin Gaye. It's virtuoso pastiche – but Kelly's Seventies are freakier than your dad's. The distant lover in "One Step Closer" gets play-by-play of R.'s commute home, which culminates in oral sex: "I'm going down/And I'm not coming back up!" And on "Beautiful in This Mirror," Kelly exults in the voyeuristic pleasure of reflecting glass: "Your love, so 3D/It's like I'm in the front row."

Listen to 'Write Me Back':

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From The Archives Issue 1160: July 5, 2012