Bringing the Love Songs Back to the Radio, Hopefully
by Liz Colville
Robert Sylvester Kelly has a new album out. It’s called Love Letter, and it’s a tribute to the soul of a bygone era, and I love it. It’s full of pianos, which I love, it’s full of hints of Marvin Gaye, which everyone loves, and it’s full of metaphor, which Kells loves, and how can we not, because in the hands of this strange poet they are unfailingly hilarious. If you are not into laughter, comparatively speaking the metaphors of Love Letter are rather tame — rather reasonable and sensible.
Sure, “Number One Hit” may be about a lady and how he wants her to be his number-one version of the bedroom sense of the word “hit,” but in “Taxi Cab,” he’s really just talking about making love in a taxi cab. The taxi cab does not stand for, like, impermanence, or putting your trust in a stranger’s hands, or almost colliding with four other vehicles, or trying to figure out how to turn the TV off and somehow just turning it back on every time you do. “Taxi Cab” — bonus — also has the spirit of Michael Jackson floating all around it.
There are brass sections and soaring honey-sweet female vocalist contributions (“Love Is”). There are Bacharachy licks and smooth xylophone details (“Just Like That”). There are epic strings and delicate flutes (“Music Must Be A Lady”). There are harps (“Love Letter”). There are, of course, grind-worthy bass lines (“Number One Hit,” many others). This is the tasteful album of a man always entertaining and increasingly reformed, and how refreshing is it to look at an album’s writing credits and just see:
If you don’t buy it for your mother, at least put it on during the holiday meal!
Now, listen to “Lost In Your Love,” which declares, “I wanna bring the love songs / back to the radio,” as well as, “I wanna make love in Braille / while I’m feeling you”:
Photo by Nicholas Ballasy via Wikipedia