The first song, "Playa's only" (sic.) - a fantasy of the closed boys' party full of willing and wild girls - sets the tone for the album. "Happy Summertime" keeps the cool summer thing going. "(Sex) In the kitchen" is easily the best track on the album, and genuinely erotic: Try "hands on the table / on your tippy toes". Even though his songs fail to touch you emotionally, Kelly successfully maintains the illusion that he's touching you in, um, other ways. "Slow wind" stays with the same kind of theme. As does "Put my T-Shirt On"... Yes, expect song after song about shagging, or wanting to.
Thanks to R. Kelly's fantastic voice, this album mostly works well enough. But the constant beating about the same topic is gradually headache-inducing. It doesn't help that Kelly goes falsetto for the very stock "Remote control", but doesn't pull it off and just ends up sounding like a wheedling, whining lapdog.However, the Trapped in the Closet DVD that comes free with the album, is a completely different story. It's brilliantly filthy and adulterous. It's a soap 'opera' (literally, all the words are sung) with lots of twists and shocks, buff guys and hot babes, sex scenes and couple fights.
The drama begins with R. Kelly realising he's overslept accidentally, not at home but in a stranger's bed. The husband of the woman he's messing around with comes home, surprising them and causing some postcoital confusion. But the husband and R. Kelly's steady girlfriend both have some secrets of their own... Grimly farcical, Trapped in the Closet is a Jerry Springer-style whodunnitowho shot in seductive bedroom light.
The songs from the DVD are also there in audio format on the main CD, and you could follow the story in audio too, which makes sense since soap opera originated as radio serial dramas which were sponsored by soap brands.
While the CD is nothing groundbreaking, the mini-soap DVD proves R. Kelly hasn't lost his innovative sense of what makes him the leader of the urban pack.
- Jean Barker
It beats me how he does it. He's one of the few artists who have the amazing ability to release one hot album after another.- Bulelwa Languza for iAfrica.com
...like all of his previous work over the past 13 years, he has given R&B fans something to sing about.- Jozen Cummings for Pop Matters
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