Baby boy ain’t doing so tough, and so R. Kelly is doing what he can to provide some comfort to Newtown in the wake of last month’s terrible tragedy. The “World’s Greatest” wrote and wrangled a full choir to sing an uplifting song called “I Know You Are Hurting (Tribute To The Newtown, Ct. Kids),” which is now available for purchase from iTunes with all proceeds going to benefit the victims’ families.
The tribute begins with a children’s choir singing heartbreak-y things like “we need your love” and “we need some answers.” We would love to say that Kells then swoops in on one of those epic runs, so great and so sweet, with all the asked upon love and answers, but unfortunately he does not. He doesn’t really sing all, actually. Rather he just sort of coos along agreeing while an adult choir offers well wishes like “I know you’re hurting, I hear your crying/ But come tomorrow, there is a place you can go to find blue sky,” ceding the spotlight to the kids. But as Newtown’s students returned to school for the first time yesterday after last month’s tragedy, it’s hard to deny the gesture. Thanks, Kels.
Contrary to popular belief, the music most celebrated on the charts isn’t always the best. Okay, that was sarcasm. But even artists with hits on the charts have a slew of singles that fall by the wayside. Not every album is a Katy Perry string of #1s. Thus, here is a list of artists whose albums were certainly recognized, but had singles that didn’t quite get the attention they deserved.
Rye Rye’s delayed and delayed album Go! Pop! Bang! finally came out in May of this year–and is really fantastic. An upbeat, eletro-pop banger that not only samples the Vengaboys‘ “Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom”, but also elevates Rye Rye’s signature sound. Unfortunately, it didn’t do so well on the charts, only hitting #9 on Dance Songs.
Blasphemy! But someone had to do it. Everyone calm down, I’m not saying that you can’t play Mariah Carey‘s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” until your iPod breaks. All I’m saying is that there is so much more out there in terms of cheerful spirited holiday-themed music that is both modern and mostly listenable.
Let’s put aside our differences and agree that lists are fun. They are also only definite if you actually add them to your holiday playlist. SO: WILL YOU?
He sat on this throne for only (part of) one song. The man has stamina.
It’s been a big week for R. Kelly and me. Well, maybe just me. It just so happened that this year’s Thanksgiving fell on the same week I attended Kells’ “Trapped in the Closet” premiere–and a chance question submission got him to tell me he loved me. Then the night before Thanksgiving I pushed my bus reservation back a day to attend the Single Ladies tour at Madison Square Garden. A Thanksgiving miracle, you could say. (Proving that miracles aren’t just for Christmas, especially if you’re a Jew.) I was again closer to Kells than ever before, and the man didn’t let down, putting on one hell of a show. Can you imagine him performing “Real Talk” live? I now can. I was so floored, in fact, that I proceeded to miss my early bus home the next morning. And while I’m also thankful that my hungry family waited to carve the turkey while I sat in traffic on a later bus, I can’t say it was all worth it. (Please don’t tell them that.)
This was after Kells personally counted the number of single ladies in the theater.
You see, for quite a while now, R. Kelly has managed to effectively combine everything I love about pop: music, theatrics, humor and camp. Kells’ overt sexuality mixed with his ability to churn out catchy hooks while also having an absurdest sense of humor about the entire thing? That’s rare. He’s able to produce emotion (“I Believe I Can Fly”, “I Wish”, “Relief”), awe (“Exit”, “When A Woman Loves”, “The World’s Greatest”), dance (“Step In The Name Of Love”, “Fiesta”, “Ignition Remix”), and laughs (“Sex In The Kitchen”, “Sex Weed”, “Sex Planet”) across his lengthy career span. And he’s not even finished: Let’s not even get into Trapped in the Closet. Because if we did, I would spend eons of words describing how Kells’ hip-hop Telenovela-meets-musical-meets-farce breaks new ground with every chapter R. releases. (Meanwhile, there are 85 apparently to come and a possible musical adaptation. Amen.)
Surreal, that all my greatest Kells moments would happen to land on Thanksgiving week. I guess, this year, that signals that I’ve found something to be thankful for. I mean, aside from the love of family and friends along with the fortune to have a platform on which to “Share My Love” (get it?) for Kells. That too.
R. Kelly told me he loved me last night. He told me through his art and he also told me face-to-face. Well, he had sunglasses on but myself and the packed room of journalists and fans could also feel the emotion in his voice. His extremely beautiful voice, one that sang not only once but three (3) times during a post-Trapped In The Closet premiere Q&A–including hits such as “Bump ‘N Grind” (He sang this one as an impromptu duet with a fan) and “I Believe I Can Fly” (This one was as a finale duet with the entire audience).
He told me he loved me directly after I submitted a question (OK, I totally stuffed the ballot box) to his Q&A and it was chosen. It read as follows:
How are you feeling today? Each year, GLAAD sets aside a day called Spirit Day for speaking out extra-loud against bullying and to show support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth. This year, that day is today; and so to celebrate, we have got eight of our favorite anti-bully anthems. Each should remind you that you are strong and beautiful, even when maybe you don’t feel it and no matter what they say. Won’t you listen with us?
Kells promised that “Trapped in the Closet” would go on forever, and he’s no liar. 20 new chapters, all featuring the same melodic hook we’ve grown to love, will be appearing on IFC the day after Thanksgiving. That’s right, Black Friday will finally live up to the hype. Put away your credit card(s) and grab yourself some pie, and cozy up to the ever-surprising, ever-amusing twists and turns of the insides of R. Kelly’s mind.
As R. Kelly gears up to take his latest album, “Write Me Back”, on tour, he’s also giving the fans exactly what we want: More Trapped in the Closet.
According to an interview with Time, R. Kelly is ready to charm the shirts off every single lady (and man!) in town and, more importantly, he states that the beloved Trapped in the Closet is “forever” — in every sense of the word. With 20 new chapters promised to appear “the day after Thanksgiving”, Kells also swears he’s got “like a hundred chapters to come.”
Wait, DID YOU SAY ONE HUNDRED CHAPTERS? You mean TRAPPED IN THE CLOSET IS GOING TO LITERALLY HAPPEN FOREVER AND EVER?
Ashanti is not playing with any woman that calls her man Nelly (who we’re going to imagine she’s referring to) in her new duet “That’s What We Do” with R.Kelly. If she loves you then she’s going to, “Now I’mma look through your phone, and I’mma call back that number. I’mma curse out that h- and let her know to stay away from ya.” Kellz assists her on the hook co-signing her antics with, “’cause that’s what we do.” And let Ashanti tell it, doing all this snooping only means that she loves the guy. Read more…
Almost ten months after her death and since his moving performance at her funeral, the late Whitney Houston and R. Kelly have released a duet version of “I Look To You,” a song R. Kelly originally wrote for Houston’s 2009 album by the same name. Posthumous reworks are not always so easy — let Draketell you about that — but this rework is both respectful in remembering her legacy and impressively successful in keeping her spirit alive.
This new version of “I Look To You” remembers Whitney with apparently tearful gasps strewn throughout, with a quiet “Whitney” chant and with a nice eulogy from Kelly at the end: “We love you, Whitney. Rest in peace.” What’s more, though, is the way it works to keep Whitney’s spirit alive as well. Maybe it’s because they were originally his words, or maybe it’s because he really means it (as you’ll remember, performed a heartfelt rendition of this song at Houston’s funeral earlier this year, tears choked back and with a tissue clenched tight in hand just in case), but Kelly’s involvement seems to draw forth a Whitney that sounds stronger and fuller than she did even on the original. It’s chilling to hear Whitney sing “I don’t know if I am going to make it, nothing to do but lift my head” at this point, but Kelly’s insistence that “when melodies are gone, in you I hear a song” soothes, making her instead the song’s beacon of hope. Read more…