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On the Timeline of R. Kelly, and the “Share My Love” Greatness

May 14, 2012

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Seriously, it’s worth listening to…

Posted by Aaron Geer
R. Kelly’s released one of his greatest tracks recently, and his newest album Write Me Back might put the bumpy, and often times manic career that spans nearly two decades into the same breath and categories as soul and funk legends as Al Green, Marvin Gaye, and Barry White

In the 8th grade I bought Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get It On because it was Rob’s top five album in Nick Hornby’s enigmatic novel on love and music, High Fidelity. Nine years later, I turn to Gaye’s title track when I drink too much and end up on stage singing karaoke, dedicating the track to the cute blonde bartender like I’m some showman wearing a suit and not jeans that haven’t been washed in, well, you don’t really have to wash jeans, right? Right?

I’d like to say I listen to my fair share of the distant-genre’d label of “soul,” but in all reality I don’t have an ear past anything other than Barry White  (I have Isaac Haye’s Shaft hanging on my wall in my living room, per the discretion of my roommate’s fondness of quirky record covers) and of course R. Kelly’s tumultuous roller coaster of a career.

Like most of other millenials like myself, a quirky fondness of R. Kelly comes to mind because of the (literally) out of this world movie Space Jam. In third grade I wore Michael Jordan’s #45 jersey in my school photo and the OST for his WTF? movie was the first CD I’ve ever owned. You could say I was obsessed. I’d say, frankly because I wish it were true, I was merely possessed by not only Michael Jordan and his greatness in not only being the greatest basketball player that was, has and will ever play the game, but also of R. Kelly’s purely-awesome anthem “I Believe I Can Fly.” Singing it in your head already? Yeah, same here.

R. Kelly really looks like Will Smith in Men In Black here. Right?

In 2003, I was the type of kid to complain about the eventual never-ending war in Iraq, only played the acoustic guitar because I (surprisingly) had a girlfriend, but here I was, hiding my most-likely-listened-to-track with my headphones on and AIM set up to troll, listening to R. Kelly swirl his way straight ahead, so instantaneously, into “Ignition (Remix).” He started the track with, also what I would say if I was eventually caught listening to it, Now usually I don’t do this, but uhh. And I would even listen to it on my Walkman as loud as I could and play along on my drums because I wanted to master the hi-hat and what I would eventually speed up to twice the speed to anything that I’d ever play ever again on drums.

And then the glory – oh the greatness and glory – of R. Kelly’s craziest, most insanely beautiful moment when he released the videos for Trapped in the Closet. I felt like everyone was thinking, Have you seen them yet? The midget? Viiiiiibraaaate? I KNOW! and couldn’t help but to play them on YouTube over and over and over again until eventually we all just said Yeah, he’s fucking crazy and pretty much pushed him and the craziest thing ever into the back of our minds.

Now, he gives me an even better surprise: one of the best soul tracks I’ve heard since something I’ve heard on vinyl. “Share My Love” (watch official video below) is full of violins, funky guitar, thick bass, and a piano so laden in lush tranquility that it’s hard not to imagine Al Green or Marvin Gaye singing this on Soul Train. The first single off his highly-awaited album Write Me Back, “Share My Love” pretty much has everything you’d want to have a good laugh and put on at a party when things are getting a little weird and “No Diggity” and “Gettin’ Jiggy With It” are being played on someone’s iPod and there’s a train of nostalgic smiles beaming from everyone. Cause that’s what R. Kelly feels like, a ride back in time.

At the apex of “Share My Love” is a hilarious moment when R. Kelly strips it all bare and does his best R&B mucho-suave, sing-saying “Now that we’re in this room, let’s do what we were born to do: Populate . . . I just wanna share my love with you!” I’m currently reading Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom and one of the central figures goals in life is to make Americans aware of the harrowing overpopulation that is spreading throughout the world, the animals that suburban sprawl is killing worldwide, but really, I don’t think R. Kelly could give a damn. See, what I feel what R. Kelly wants the most is for people to love him for who he is, one of the craziest pop figures of our lifetime, and with “Share My Love” I’m sure plenty of people will be opening their arms up to the guy who pissed on the girls head.

WATCH: R. Kelly — “Share My Love” (official video)

 

Aaron Geer is the Founding Contributor to Phiendly. He recently graduated with a B.A. in English from Western Michigan University and is openly taking donations for paying back his student loans he’s already worried about.
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Sleeping with “September in Summertime,” or Falling Somewhere in Ohio, Waking Up in Prague, Mercury Tennis Ball

February 24, 2012

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Posted by Aaron Geer

AyGeeTee — “September in Summertime”

Don’t even ask how weird my dreams were when I fell asleep to London soundmachine/producer AyGeeTee. I felt like I was riding on the Millennium Force at Cedar Point with gauze in my mouth and snowboard goggles on. I saw Lake Erie on fire. I fell through the metal beams of the roller coaster. I noticed a glimmer of sunlight shining upwards through the cracks of the sidewalk where minions of little boys carried balloons and bugged the shit out of their parents, who applied sunscreen to their shoulder blades that rank of fur and pepto bismal. My teeth latched to my gums from the wind, warm like an oven, soft like a cardboard box in a rainstorm.

See you don’t have to ask because I will tell you. 

Once I hit the concrete, or when I thought I’d hit the concrete, I recognized this man I’d met in a park in Prague – during that one month stay last July for a writer’s program – who had asked me for a cigarette while I was reading on a bench outside. In Prague, all city workers who clean the sidewalks and pick up trash on the streets wear what looks like uniforms suited for the people at airports who move the luggage around from terminal to terminal, in little white and orange overalls. His face was ragged, like an unkempt skunk in a French cartoon, and as he sat next to me I envisioned this man browsing through my luggage, thrown around my tiny little dorm room – where bugs would fester in the night when I was trying to write because they’d see the light on and swarm to some warmth because in the Czech Republic they either don’t believe in the purpose of screens on windows or they have a rising botanical industry for carnivorous vegetation (honestly, so many plants that attract bugs, everywhere) – and he’d simply smell them, my clothes escaping my luggage.

Is this the ghost of Hubert Selby, Jr.? I thought the man looked familiar, like a former spokesperson for an insurance company, or a relief pitcher for the Tigers during the 90s, the real bad years, the dark ages. Just as dark as the sidewalk that was approaching me falling from the Millennium Force, oblong, undesirable.

I have a tendency to wake up from my dreams right before I hit whatever I’m supposed to hit. I can recall one consistency of dreamlike paralysis where I’d be playing tennis, returning a serve that just hit the line, and right as I hit the ball as smoothly as I can, to the other side of the court, sharp with topspin, my left leg off the ground to let my body do what my body is supposed to do in terms of recognizing its own physical abilities. But, and I can still feel this feeling, right when the tennis ball, as lime green as the man’s overalls in Prague, hits my racket, it drops, as if filled with lead, mercury.

AyGeeTee’s “September in Summertime” floats somewhere between the surreal and the carnival, where nothing is more real than your own dreams. I feel like there’s so much going on in the 7 1/2 minutes of looped layers, ridden with noise like an ether, that there should be more. So much more. Please give us more. We need more. And I’m thinking this as the track is doing everything that it’s supposed to be doing. And when it ends, I feel like there was everything there, like the first time I stepped off the Millennium Force I had tears running down my face from the wind, something of a smile splattered on my chapped lips.

Aaron Geer is the founding editor of Phiendly. Half the time he doesn’t know what he’s talking about…
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