Tune in to the next musical chapter of one of the most creative, productive, & successful artists in music for well over a decade. There is no stopping the genuine jukebox of R. Kelly. This spring, his multitudes of fans become Happy People, when he releases a special 2CD set entitled Happy People/U Saved Me, featuring all new studio recordings. This extraordinary release from R. Kelly is thematically divided into two compelling concepts. The first cd, Happy People, is an upbeat collection of tunes to get you steppin' all summer. The first single, "Happy People," has already gotten folks up out of their chairs, steppin' to the left & steppin' to the right! The second cd, U Saved Me, is comprised of uplifting, spiritually inspired songs that will make your heart sing, featuring the studio version of the show-stopping live performance on this year's Soul Train Awards.
R. Kelly is arguably one of R&B's most productive minds in years and the Chicago native creates music at a pace that few artists in any genre could keep up with. "Happy People/U Saved Me" serves as Kelly's own personal "Best of Both Worlds"--highlighting both the singer's love for stepping (a Midwest-based dance craze) and need for salvation. "Happy People" is the more upbeat of the two discs with Kelly taking on the persona of the Weatherman, a DJ on the fictional LOVE radio station. The album's title track and lead single is a perfect introduction to its infectious sound. Similarly, the midtempo groove of "Red Carpet (Pause, Flash)" will have stepping experts and novices headed straight to the dance floor. While the recurring stepping theme quickly becomes repetitive, you can't help but groove all the way through.
Unfortunately, the same can't be said for "U Saved Me." The message-heavy disc sacrifices Kelly's raw talent for melodrama. Songs like "I Surrender" and "Prayer Changes," while expressing a sincere sentiment about believing in something greater than yourself, are a little overwhelming. That said, this disc's title track is a rousing musical tale of overcoming obstacles with the help of God--complete with a rising choir. In the end, "Happy People/U Saved Me," like most double albums, has both its highs and lows. --Rashaun Hall