R Kelly has had a few distasteful personal and musical episodes during his career.

But let's put those aside for a moment because, love him or loathe him, Write Me Back is a mostly delightful, breezy, retro-sounding album. Not the usual description for the music of this unashamed sex fiend and self-proclaimed ladies' man, but there's an overwhelming feelgood mood to the follow-up to 2010's equally old-school Love Letter.

Opener Love Is comes on like the theme from Knots Landing meets Barry White's Can't Get Enough, with its effortless lovelorn cheese.

But when he proclaims, like he really, really means it, that "loving you is what I was put on this Earth to do", you can't help but feel a little touched.


Lady Sunday sets off on a lovely lilting piano-driven groove but on When A Man Lies, he mans up and repents some of his past sins with the hilarious line, "yeah, mirror, I'm talkin' to you ..."

He may have an outrageous ego yet you can't help but admire his inspired approach to making R'n'B, from his dirty 90s classic 12 Play, to 2005 track Trapped in the Closet (a 10-part R'n'B epic so ridiculously over-the-top it was a masterpiece).

Write Me Back is his more carefree addition to a now vast canon.

Stars: 3.5/5
Verdict: R&B king goes retro and less sleazy.
Buy Write Me Back by R. Kelly here.

- TimeOut