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4.8 out of 5 stars
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on December 15, 2010
You just have to ask yourself - how does this Guy do it? 20 years in the game, and is only getting better; Incredible!

'Love Letter' is the truth, from 1st to last track.

Rob has some fun on the Prelude, just setting the scene for the ultra melodic Stevie Wonder inspired title track - you say these words to a loved one and they are yours for life. From then on in, you are caught, hook, line and sinker.

The vocals, instrumentation, and production are simply the very best from the undisputed 'King of RnB'. Oh, and let's not get this twisted people R. Kelly has no competition, other than himself.

On 'Love Letter' Rob has challenged himself to create an album that is:

a) Real RnB
b) Pays homage to the Greats who have went before him
c) Fun
d) Somehow feels fresh and fits in with life in 2010

An impossible task for most, but not a musical genius and true living legend.

From the late great Michael Jackson, to Ottis Redding, to Sam Cooke, to Marvin Gaye, to Jackie Wilson, to the aforementioned Stevie Wonder, and more - they are all here saying hi, but channelled through the brilliance of R. Kelly.

Many might think that Rob has been quiet over the last 10 years, but when you have 4 classic albums in a decade (TP2.Com, Chocolate Factory, Happy People/U Saved Me, and now Love Letter) that is no mean feat. Some people cant even release 4 albums in their career let alone in that period of time, and for them to touch 'classic' status is merely a dream.

We dont even have to get into what dude did in the 90's, because we'd be here all day.

People like to pigeon hole R. Kelly but he encompasses all genres of music, and really has no limits. Critics in the media often want to make fun of him, but when it comes to this music - R. Kelly is as serious as they come!

'Love Letter' is a testimony to his 20 years in the game, and a gift for all people. Music is a beautiful thing when done right, and R. Kelly really did right with this LP.

Don't sleep, don't talk, don't hesitate...

Pick this up, and let this 'Love Letter' transport you to Musical Heaven - 'Real Talk'.
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on December 14, 2010
This is a great & fantastic CD release by the talented, prolific singer-songwriter & King of R n' B, Robert Kelly, titled, "Love Letter". This Great CD opens with "Love Letter (Prelude)", a beautiful & soulful 'al cappella' track, voicing being greatful for the support he received during his recent troubles with the law & as well as more about the great music in this CD. "Love Letter" is the next great track : great drum kit sound, laid-back track with great vocals (title track). "Love Letter Christmas" is great remix of the title track. "Number One Hit" is another great track (electro-R n' B track, great bass/drums combination & great clear vocals). Other great tracks include "Just Can't Get Enough" (soul sound & soulful vocals), "Radio Message" (Great vocals & very persuasive lyrics, singer pleading very convincingly, "Baby come back"), "Love Is" (great vocals & harmonies, featuring K. Michelle) & "You Are Not Alone" (a hidden track on my CD, great effort & interpretation by Robert Kelly of the classic song he wrote for Michael Jackson, a well fitting tribute to the great fallen musician. His vocals don't fully match Michael Jackson's, but is nevertheless a great effort, tribute & his own interpretation of the this great song). Good tracks include "Not Feelin' The Love", "Taxi Cab", "Just Like That" (great guitar intro & bass/drum combination) & "Music Must Be A Lady" (great orchestral intro, the track starts quite greatly but does fail to keep its greatness as it goes on). "Lost In Your Love" is a solid track/gem : a beautiful grand piano sound, fantastic melody, wonderful bass/drum combination, great chorus, harmonies & lyrics. He declares "Baby tonight I wanna be lost in your love", very convincingly. "When A Women Loves" is another solid track/gem : probably inspired by Percy Sledge's classic, "When A Man Loves A Woman". The song has a beautiful melody, great high pitched vocals & persuasive lyrics. He proclaims a woman, "She loves for real... She fills my soul". "How Do I Tell Her?" is a masterpiece of a song : beautiful orchestral background/base track, very melodical, 'heartbreaking' lyrics & vocals. The song also has well matched rhythm guitar, grand piano & a nice saxophone near the end. The singer fading singing, "Bye bye baby...bye bye baby...", what a gem of a song! This is my favourite track from this fantastic CD & hence the title of my review. This great CD has no weak track to really talk of. On overall, this is a great & fantastic CD release by the talented, Chicago (IL) born, Robert Kelly, a highly recommended listening. The King of R n' B is back with a bang! A great early Christmas gift to his loyal fans!
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on December 14, 2010
I love this album. The R in R&B did an amazing job. Vocals are amazing. If I didnt know any better I'd swear he was still in his twenties. The album's overall sound pulls from yesterday without being a novelty album. I wish there were a couple sexual songs on the album, only because Kelly always finds an innovative way to talk about the deed. Anyway, all in all, this is an album my mother and grandmother would enjoy as well as myself. Five stars.
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on January 7, 2011
I always loved R Kelly, and have always considered him an extremely gifted artist. His albums have been great over the years, and he has shown himself to be a truly gifted singer aswell as musician, writer and producer. So who would have thought that with this latest album he would not only cement himself as a true genious in the same catagory as Prince or Michael Jackson, but deliver not only the best work of his career but quite simply the most amazing album of the last ten years. Yes people it is that good! This album was a revalation to me on first listen. I haven't felt an album on this level since I first heard `Purple Rain' or first heard Marvin Gaye sing!

In a climate of `American Idol' karaoke singers, and endless artists doing cover albums and somehow trying to pass it off as inspired, R Kelly has done what none of them have. He has delivered an album which lends a nod to the likes of Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder, but with his own flavour and which never once sounds like he's trying to imitate. There are songs, like `Music must be a Lady' which were obviously influenced heavily by Marvin Gaye's `Just to keep you Satisfied', but not once does it ever sound forced.

And that voice! R Kelly has never sounded better. The truly classy vocals and harmonies are quite mesmerizing. And every now and then you could swear you hear Marvin or Michael or Stevie, but the difference between this and an idol ripoff is that R Kelly breathes this sound!

In a long career that has had a mix of great albums and, quite frankly, bloated self serving material, who ever thought that he would deliver this incredible album at this stage in his career? The last time I felt this affected by music was when I was at school and first discovering the sounds I loved. This is straight into my top ten of life altering cds.
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on December 14, 2010
R. Kelly has proven once again why he is the KING of R&B!! I can't stop listening to this album!!! I recommend it to anyone who loves REAL music!! All the lil' kids can keep listenin' to that fake BS R&B from Trey Songz...This album from Kellz is for GROWN folks!!!
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on December 21, 2010
I'm sure we can debate for some time the number of albums Kells has dropped that can be considered classics...(12 Play, R., TP-2.Com, The Chocolate Factory), but with the ever changing styles that have emerged in R&B music today, he has managed to stay relevant, even with a couple of sub-par albums in a precedent that he previously set. Love Letter is a CERTIFIED CLASSIC! There is no argument there. This is the type of album your 7 year-old will groove to, a college student, a 30-something hipster, your mother and even your grandfather. It is an album that you want to listen to over and over again. I always say that music should have the power to envoke a feeling, an emotion that makes you feel connected to it. Love Letter accomplishes that. There are songs on this album that will make you wave your hands, sway, slow dance, and think. R. Kelly has yet again proven that he gets it. God has given him talents that he has used to the fullest on this record and created music that will no doubt - last a lifetime!
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on May 21, 2011
Boy am I late writing this review (already 184 FIVE Star Reviews)....I'll just have to be #185. R. Kelly is one of those artist that you don't give up on. I have almost every album he's featured on and I was disappointed in a couple of his latest cds but I would never give up. Nope. Everytime I hear a single I anxiously await the album, thirsting, itching. This album satisfied that itch and quenched that thirst. A classic. Whether you're an ole head and just wanna groove or a youngster tryna get a groove going this album will do the trick. That's the magic of R.Kelly. Always delivers on that feel good music. No matter who you are, you wanna feel good right? He can definitely set the mood. I'm glad this dude is back and on the right focus, for me! lol....can't wait to see him in concert next month.
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on February 22, 2011
I remember when R. Kelly first appeared with Public Announcement back in the day. I almost wrote him off as a second-rate Aaron Hall clone (of the group "GUY") since they both came out during the height of the New Jack Swing period of 90's R&B. From his second release "12 Play" onward, as an artist R. Kelly has confounded and sometimes aggravated me deeply. On the one hand there's that Bump-&-Grind, Thug Playah persona, which appeals to most R&B fans who came of age in the 90's and then there's that persona that can craft a gospel-tinged tune like "I Believe I Can Fly", a club bouncer like "Home Alone", steppers classics like "Step In The Name Of Love" & "Happy People", or classic old-school flavored songs like "When A Woman's Fed Up", or a contemporary "begging" anthem such as "I Can't Sleep". As an artist he didn't appear so much as versatile, but a musically schizophrenic shill pandering to the buck. For example, Prince, before his Jehovah's Witness conversion, could seemly transition from a licentiously dark sex freak to a metaphysical musical wonder and you could still sense the Prince's integrity and commitment to musical craft. the worse you could expect from Prince is him going off on some abstract tangent that nobody but Prince could comprehend. Up until lately, you often had to wonder just how low R. Kelly would sink, before he'd crank out another anthemic song in an effort to convince you he wasn't the child-stalking pedophile his court cases insinuated he was.

No doubt, the man has an almost unparalleled sense of hip-hop/pop craftsmanship and what will sell. But his music ... from forward seemed to be just a little too calculated for my tastes. The contradicting irony is that I either have entire CDs or tunes from every release he's done up until Double-Up. And while most people would crown him the "King of R&B", I won't ... despite his obvious sales and track record. I will concede that his influence on 90's and first decade 2000's R&B is undeniable. I admit that having been weaned on the real masters of R&B: Marvin, Smokey, Sam Cooke, Luther, Peabo and groups Like the O'Jays, The Tempts, The Stylistics, The Spinners, The Dramatics ... people with a level of elegance, sincerity and class. R. Kelly and his hip-hop infused, thug-flavored brand of R&B seemed to be the antithesis of what I consider REAL R&B was all about. In the 90's, it was as if any male R&B singer who wasn't singing in an R. Kelly vein, he was considered "soft" and unmarketable. And in truth, with a few exceptions, most of R. Kelly's "soft" contemporaries during that period ... with a few notable exceptions (Joe, Gerald Levert, Keith Sweat, Usher) ... their careers floundered and they disappeared from the scene.

Too many times R. Kelly ... IMO ... appeared more concerned about commercial sales than any heartfelt commitment to high-quality musical content. Even though R. Kelly had some admittedly memorable and enjoyable stellar departures from his standard modus operandi of gangsta-seasoned bedroom music. But to me they were finely crafted, million-selling hiccups. From where I sit, the whole "neo-soul" trend producing Musiq Soulchild, Maxwell, and Raheem Devaughn was a direct retort to the salacious Bump-&-Grind, Sex-Me road of "Rubbish & Bullcrap" R. Kelly and his clones had steered the genre down and almost killed it. And all of that flack with his sex crime charges certainly didn't endear me to his music. By the time "Double-Up" came out, I declared I was done with R. Kelly. It seemed like all he was capable of producing were thug anthems fit for strip clubs. Kicking Ne-Yo out of his tour back in 2008 really ticked me off ... I was done with the "Peed Piper of R&B". When his "Untitled" released came out 2 years ago, I listened to the "Religious" cut with amused contempt; typical calculating R. Kelly single!

But at this point in my long-winded polemic (seemingly) hating on R. Kelly, I have to say that "Love Letter" is a release truly deserving the 4-star rating I'm giving it. The obvious calculated decision to hearken back to and pay homage to 60's & 70's soul is why I'm stingy with that 5th star. I have plenty of 4 & 5-star rated R. Kelly singles in my music collection, but as far as whole CDs, only his first four releases ("Born Into The 90's, R., & R. Kelly") were worthy of a rating from me higher than 3 stars.

"Love Letter" is probably the first R. Kelly release I can say I like without qualifying it. It's also the first R. Kelly release in a long time that I don't have to wince at if my teenaged daughter were have it on her mp3 player. The title cut and "Love Letter Christmas" radiate with authentic sincerity. I have only 3 criticisms of this CD. #1. The cut "When A Woman Loves" though good as a "testifying" tribute to a woman's devotion, does sound a bit contrived. Anybody old enough to have heard Gene Chandler's live version of his 1965 cut "Rainbow" or Marvin Gayes' 1974 live version of "Distant Lover" will know what I'm talking about. Those R&B icons practiced a level of on-stage authentic testifying and begging R. Kelly has yet to achieve ... athough ... R. puts out a great vocal facsimile of their intensity. #2. If I didn't know better, I'd almost swear R. Kelly looked at/listened to Raphael Saadiq's 2008 release "The Way I See It" and said "hmmm ... that's what I'll do next... a retro-release!" And while Raphael Saadiq's "The Way I See It" sounds more organic and true to the period it pays homage to, "Love Letter" oozes with R. Kelly's slick studio production technique, though still evoking the era in a very admirable fashion.

Thanks to "Love Letter", I'm (temporarily) suspending my epithets of "The Peed Piper of Rubbish & Bullcrap" where R. Kelly is concerned. That is ... until he pi$$e$ me off with another set of thug-nificent ghetto anthems. I sincerely hope R. Kelly continues with this level of artistry.
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on January 18, 2012
After hangin' withcha' boy Kells (or now, as he likes to be called, January), I have listened to him thru his days with Public Announcement, his 12 PLAY phase, his sexy and oversexed videos, T.P.2 & DOUBLE UP releases....I have been thru it all with him. He is such a talented artist, but never would I have expected a recording like this to come from him! From start to finish, this disc is awesome! He pays tribute to the ole' Motown classic wonderfully, and I've also got a feeling that when you strip him of everything that people take for granted and what they expect from him, this is what you get. A heartfelt tribute to music from a man who has a soul for his craft and delivers from the heart everything that others may find weak or "sellout-ish", but real music listeners will find as being classic and poignant. EXCELLENT WORK, R.!!!
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on January 25, 2011
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