Beck is a Scientologist. Can his fans live with that?
R. Kelly's latest single, appropriately titled "In the Kitchen," is part of his recently released three-track CD hyping his yet untitled June 28 album. Like his previous sexually charged messages-including "12 Play," "Bump n' Grind," "Feelin' on Yo Booty" and the brazen "Sex Me"-the three songs explore sensual scenarios: twice in the kitchen with a remix, and then in the bedroom with our leading man "Trapped in the Closet" after his lover's husband unexpectedly returns home.
Yet despite the dramatic tales, none of the songs is particularly seductive, either musically or lyrically-especially for Kelly, who's known for his explicit carnality, fueled by hip-hop beats and old-school crooning, and who once compared his sexual attraction to his love for his Jeep and lusted after a woman because her body was "smokin' like a Cuban cigar."
But for the fans who still allow themselves to buy his music, these new songs are a much needed distraction. The singer still faces multiple counts of child pornography-related offenses stemming from a videotape showing him having sex with an allegedly 14-year-old girl.
Last year the much hyped Best of Both Worlds tour, with rap icon Jay-Z, came to a sudden end after Kelly left the stage at New York's Madison Square Garden because he thought someone was trying to kill him. Then someone in Jay-Z's entourage maced Kelly, who later filed a $75 million lawsuit against Jay-Z for "sabotaging" the tour.
But Kelly's personal demons have never dampened his musical success. His 2003 Chocolate Factory idled at No. 1 for weeks-and rightfully so. To his legions of fans, Kelly is a musical genius. But let's hope the rest of his album offers more than puerile romps in the kitchen. C+ (Kia Gregory)