One secret to R. Kelly’s confounding stardom: his sunglasses. He wears them more often than not, sporting them on nearly each of his 12 solo-album covers, including Black Panties’ superstud-swimming-in-a-pool-of-naked-ladies tableau. Dark shades are the Chicago native's hip veil; he generally doesn’t want you staring directly into his eyes and peering into his soul. Because you might not want to find out that a peerless soul man might not actually have one.On one hand, you can’t fuck with R. Kelly’s creative output. He’s a 44-year-old, one-man, self-contained hit machine, a prolific mastermind with an otherworldly work ethic — easily the most influential male R&B performer/producer of the past 20 years next to unprolific genius D’Angelo.
The sequel rarely beats the original. Cinematic exceptions include the return of the Corleone family, the Empire striking back, and the encore early-'80s outing of a certain blue-tights-wearing beefcake superhero; musical exceptions don't really exist at all. Justin Timberlake's follow-up to the spring 2013 commercial juggernaut The 20/20 Experience won't change that. On The 20/20 Experience 2 of 2, you won't find an aggressive, exotic foot stomper worthy of its predecessor's "Let the Groove Get In"; nor will you find a shimmering weeper like "Mirrors," or a mid-tempo burner that makes your shoulders twitch as vibrantly as "Pusher Love Girl." The end result is disappointing, but only slightly, in the same way virtually all other second comings let you down.I suppose calling this a sequel at all is a bit of a misnomer.