Thursday, May 31st, 2012

R. Kelly – Feelin’ Single

Insert easy joke about R. Kelly doing anything…


Alex Ostroff: I don’t object, in principle, to R. Kelly gracefully aging into successive quiet storm retro soul projects. Love Letter avoided coming off as shtick mostly due to its sonic breadth; no one style overstayed its welcome, from stepping to Motown duets to mid-period Michael Jackson. “Feelin’ Single” is a languid post-disco number, but so was his last single. (Granted, “Share My Love” was a touch more disco, but they’re pretty similar tracks.) The bridge is the best thing here; its build to the ecstatic “might as well go out and mingle, girl” raises the song above “Share My Love”, whose self-aware cries of “Populate!” break the fourth wall in a manner better suited to 12 Play or Chocolate Factory. For all my nitpicking, R. Kelly on autopilot is still effortlessly smooth vocals, intuitive improvisation – in my house / in my room / in my bed / in my arms tonight babe! – and a general sense of joy.

Alfred Soto: His retrophilia having reached dangerous levels of toxicity, he nevertheless understands a melody and what to do with his own multitracked call and response vocals. As usual he confuses retribution for empathy.

Sabina Tang: What would have been a grave moral lapse on December 29 or February 11 feels like a pardonable peccadillo on May 30. The mouth spouts justifications undermined by the instrumental id, already in celebratory mode, bathing in warm summer night air.

Jamieson Cox: A study in tightrope walking – smooth without feeling sleazy, sexy without feeling caddish, vocally impressive without seeming overwrought – written and performed with the deft, experienced touch of a master two decades into the game. It’s a summer jam, a classic singles anthem, and one of my favourite 2012 cuts yet.

Jonathan Bogart: Pastiche is another country.

Brad Shoup: Forsaking his primary constituency of rubbernecking white bloggers to bring the grown folks some Seal-inflected stepping, Kells puts forth a prime cut for my forthcoming DJ mix Songs in the Key of Optometrists’ Appointments.

Katherine St Asaph: So lush that it gets away with everything: his memetic past, his retromaniac present and probable Cee-Lo future, the rhyme “single/mingle.” If Kells is this smooth in real life, this track couldn’t even happen.

Jonathan Bradley: “Feelin’ Single” glides as Kells hasn’t since the mellifluous “Step in Name of Love.” This song isn’t as weightlessly emancipatory as that one; it posits the dancefloor as an escape from relationship angst, but, in this case, the anger follows Kelly into the club. The drama hangs too heavy for the disco pulse to be properly cathartic.

Ramzi Awn: Another new-millennium addition to the eHarmony commercial aesthetic, “Feelin’ Single” is the perfect song to hear at the mall at Christmastime. Let’s grab some TCBY cuz this is gonna be a moment to remember. I can already imagine which tie I’m picking out, the smiles on everybody’s faces, and the black kicks I’m buying for later. Ready to make a change. I’m gonna hit the town tonight, and this time’s gonna be different. Do I ever need to take this Kelly out of Kohl’s? No. But the drive home is a happy one. 

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