For the better part of two years, famed R&B singer-songwriter R. Kelly has been indulging his affinity for classic soul of the 1960s and more adult contemporary sounds than his fans had grown accustomed to. The two studio albums he released during that time (2010’s Love Letter and 2012’s Write Me Back) featured the “Pied Piper of R&B” in retro and grown ‘n sexy mode, and while they were critically acclaimed, they didn’t exactly set the charts on fire.
So, as we enter the home stretch of 2013, the Chicago-born superstar is going back to what he’s most known for; ballerific slices of hip-hop soul and his own bizarre brand of “Raunch ‘n B.” Kelly released the 2 Chainz-assisted single “My Story” in late summer, and this week he’s debuted another new track — the sexually charged “Cookie.”
On “Cookie,” Kelly compares good sex to his fondness for cookies, specifically Oreos. As his Auto-Tuned vocals croon about “licking it” like the creamy middle of the popular sandwich cookies, it becomes increasingly obvious that R. Kelly is still quite comfortable creating goofy sex odes. After all, this is what he’s been doing for 20 years. But this seems like a slightly-desperate re-embracing of what his fans expect from him, and even for Kelly, “Cookie” comes across as quite uninspired.
Kelly has already made it clear that he wants his upcoming album, Black Panties, to be viewed in a similar vein as his ’90s bedroom material, namely 1993’s 12 Play. That album was Kelly’s breakthrough, and cemented his status as a torchbearer for contemporary R&B. But with younger artists like Frank Ocean and Miguel taking the genre in new directions, does the game really want to hear a guy in his late 40s singing Auto-Tuned vocals about oral sex and Oreos?
Of course, the answer could be a resounding “Yes!” Kelly’s fanbase is extremely devoted, and many of been waiting patiently for this particular R. Kelly to make his return. So he could be giving the people exactly what they want. And for a guy who once sang about how much sex with his woman reminded him of his Jeep, we all know what R. Kelly is about at this point.
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