One thing is clear: when he’s not busy defending himself against statutory rape charges, R&B star R. Kelly has ample time to immerse himself in watching daytime soap operas. How else to explain Trapped in the Closet, the five-part song cycle that closes out his latest album, TP.3 Reloaded? A bonus DVD with the Trapped in the Closet longform video accompanies the CD.
Simply put, Trapped in the Closet is the worst thing I’ve ever heard or seen. Unlike other attempts at rock “opera” (think Tommy, The Wall or even Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”), all five chapters have exactly the same melody. The only variations are ones of intensity based on how confused or homicidal R. Kelly happens to be feeling at the moment.
In Chapters 1-5 a bed-hopping melodrama worthy of a Restoration comedy plays out, with R. Kelly singing all the lines. It’s obvious that this is supposed to be very serious, but it’s impossible not to laugh at Kelly’s corny lyrics or the overacting of the video’s cast.
In Chapter 1, he’s hustled into the bedroom closet of a woman he just spent the night with with because her husband has come home unexpectedly. I crack up every time Kelly tries to bring the following lines to a lilting conclusion: “Next thing you know a call comes through on my cell phone/I tried my best to quickly put it on vibrate.” Chapter 2 features Kelly giving the soulful treatment to these poetic lyrics: “He says, ‘Yes,’ I say, ‘No,’ he says, ‘Yes,’ I say, ‘No.’” (Do yourself a favor, read the complete lyrics.)
Of course, like a daytime soap, Trapped in the Closet often falls into the “so-bad-it’s-good” category. I heartily recommend that you watch the video (which has been airing in its entirety on MTV 2) because it’s not all that often that you get a chance to revel in something so sublimely awful as this.
Chapters 6-10 are allegedly forthcoming. God help us all.
P.S. For a very different take on the new R. Kelly album, please be sure and read Sterfish’s review.