Dom Passantino is a great writer. Watch this dude. To haters, if you can't be cynical about the music industry, what CAN you be cynical about? Is it really that offensive to run into a sarcastic non-booster? Especially one so descriptive, one whose sardonic humor is this entertaining? If so, you really have no reason to be reading criticism. Stick with press releases.
Spent a lot of time this week making friends listen to TP3.Reloaded and watch the Trapped In The Closet DVD. Spent a lot of time watching friends laugh their ass off in disbelief. There's always a desire to use phrases like "artless" or "so bad its good," but they cloak the level of craft that must go into these campy miracles. Without the exuberance of his voice, the quality of the music and his gift for narrative, how would these ridiculous songs be so memorable? While he's no peer of Green, Gaye or Prince as an artist, he certainly trumps Pendergrass and Parker Jr. as entertainers. He sounds so spontaneous while mixing the crass and grandly passionate that he must either be an idiot savant or an irreverent comic genius, possibly both. The inexplicability is part of the appeal.
I'm not sure how many people are familiar with Frank Kogan's free lunch concept, but one thing I've wondered is whether these unspoken qualities become saleable if the artist stays in the media eye. Is Michael Jackson's paranoia really a secret goody today rather than an obvious trait? Likewise, R. Kelly's penchant for the absurd, evident from the very beginning ("I Like The Crotch On You," anyone?), has become more and more flagrant with each TP release: "Bump'n'Grind" to "Feelin' On Yo' Booty" to "Sex In The Kitchen." I have a hard time imagining anybody missing the batshit while listening to TP3.Reloaded, and that lack of restraint is part of what makes this my favorite Kelly album to date. Aside from a watered-down Usher rip (his only real competition as an entertainer these days) and maybe "(Sex) Love Is What We Makin'" every track is either energetic or completely bananas (those nutzoid slow jams have more juice than usual, too). His voice has only grown more lithe and pleasureful with time, and while nothing has the earnest gravity of "Turn Back The Hands Of Time," "Down Low" or even "Heaven, I Need A Hug," I don't think he's necessarily lost the ability to affect on that level. This time he's just not bothering to try.
As for the criminal allegations, I tend to assume all celebrities inject meth into their eyeballs while beating servants and molesting farm animals. If they're accused and found guilty of misdeeds, they should suffer the consequences. While I understand if others can't enjoy the art created by criminals or perverts, I can't give up my Chuck Berry and I can't give up my Kells.