Picks and Pans Review: R. Kelly

updated 12/04/1995 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/04/1995 01:00AM

R. Kelly

Hey, Bob Dole—good news! R. Kelly, R&B's in-demand singer-songwriter-producer, has dumped the sex-sells aesthetic of "Bump N' Grind," his No. 1 single from last year. Instead, on this sophisticated third album, he's focusing on true romance with hooked-on-you ballads like "You Remind Me of Something." All aglow from his new love affair with classic soul, he serves up bell-bottomed disco, Sly-&-the-Family-Stone-stylefunk and, especially on the a cappella "As I Look into My Life," a surprisingly spiritual attitude. But despite Kelly's mellow verve on these higher-brow delights, he remains a slave to the rhythm: "Hump Bounce" and "(You to Be) Be Happy" are as nicely pumped as anything this side of Mary J. Blige's jeep anthems and, unlike Kelly's earlier raunch and soul, they don't need to go too far to go the distance. (Jive)

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