Showing posts with label trapped in the closet. Show all posts
Showing posts with label trapped in the closet. Show all posts

Thursday, July 12, 2012

album review: 'write me back' by r. kelly

Short version: it's good but just shy of great. R. Kelly is always a compelling performer, but it feels like he was on autopilot for this album, and it doesn't quite strike the same gold its predecessor did. Give it a listen, but I'd check out his 2010 album 'Love Letter' first.

It's always interesting to speculate on the questionable sanity of pop artists.

For some people, it's easy. Despite Katy Perry's questionable choices in men, it's obvious from press interviews that's she's quite sane. Jay-Z, likewise, is very much a sane musician and businessman. Same with Usher, and his protege Justin Bieber - they're quite rational, all things considered. In fact, I'd argue most pop acts, given their commercial focus, can be deemed quite sane and rational. 

And then, of course, you have the artists who have questionable sanity at best, or to be blunt, can have their mental state summarized as a blend of mixed nuts and batshit. These are the artists who delve into weirdness and strange spectacle without prodding, and whose antics off-stage are often solid proof of their fragile contact with reality. Some artists really straddle the line, and indeed it's tough to gauge the difference between insane talent and genuine insanity (that'd be your Lady Gaga and Ke$ha analogues), so often times you have to look to more than just the character they play in their music, but also who they are in real life. 

Let's take Kanye West, for instance. The man is a gifted musical producer with incredible and often strange ideas for his music. But the off-the-wall statements, his bizarre rants on Twitter, the incident at the 2009 VMAs with Taylor Swift, and that incredibly bizarre album sampler/art film Runaway that he somehow wrote, directed, starred in, and funded all by himself - all of these suggest a man with amazing talent, but also that something important was knocked loose in his brain. And I don't even think I need to go into the history of a man like Prince, who has done so many off-beat and weird things with both his music and his personal life that I really don't have time to describe them all. Suffice to say, when you have seriously talented artists who might not have all their marbles in a row, the brand of insanity from their actual lives can bleed into their music, and add a real spice to all of their music. 

And with all the talk of insanity, I have to talk about R. Kelly.