His last full-length, Love Letter, was a plunge into the past, with homages to Sam Cooke and Marvin Gaye; it was led by the barnstorming “When A Woman Loves,” a dedication to devotion that showed off both the muscular timbre of his voice and its ability to float into butterfly-light falsettos. (OK, so the video was a bit over the top, with him singing into what seemed like a hundred microphones at one point.) Write Me Back (RCA), out this week, is a sequel of sorts to Love Letter (get it?), and it’s slightly less drenched in retro tropes, but it’s no less of an enjoyable listen.

Maura Johnston on R. Kelly’s new album (and book!) ”Feelin’ Single,” above, is the first, er, single. 

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