Happy People/U Saved Me

Happy People/U Saved Me

4.8 12
by R. Kelly

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One of the most talented and malleable of R&B stars, R. Kelly can change guises to suit his ever-changing moods -- from God-fearing sinner to smooth-crooning party man to horny devil. In fact, his seemingly contradictory identities inform his populist approach to music, which has resulted in some of the most enjoyable R&B of the last two decades, including songs that


One of the most talented and malleable of R&B stars, R. Kelly can change guises to suit his ever-changing moods -- from God-fearing sinner to smooth-crooning party man to horny devil. In fact, his seemingly contradictory identities inform his populist approach to music, which has resulted in some of the most enjoyable R&B of the last two decades, including songs that run the gamut from "I Believe I Can Fly" to "Fiesta" and "Feelin' on Yo Booty." On the double-disc Happy People/U Saved Me, Kelly splits his competing interests literally down the middle, tempering the lewd references with feel-good vibes on the Happy People disc and reserving the U Saved Me half for inspirational R&B hymns. Happy People is devoted to the slick, wide-open grooves popular in Chicago's stepping dance scene. Although the repetitive instructional rhythm gets a bit tiresome, Kelly gets kudos for his utopian vision on the Marvin Gaye–inspired, conga-accented standout track, "If I Could Make the World Dance." But if Kelly sees the unifying power of ballroom twirls, he also imparts, on the companion disc, his belief that true salvation comes from a higher power. Given his much-publicized sex scandal, the repentant testifying found here might reek of heavy-handed manipulation in less capable hands. You can almost hear his tears ker-plunking when he questions the Almighty's unconditional love for him on "How Did You Manage." Like a practiced preacher, however, Kelly combines soaring vocals with Everyman lyrics about drunk driving, cancer, and unemployment on the title track, "U Saved Me," and even a hoop star's struggle with algebra on "Prayer Changes." He places life lessons amid lush gospel choir swells and meditative funk grooves, and you wind up cheering for the unlikely choirboy. At the end of Happy People's "Weatherman," Kelly states: "This album was designed to touch your soul / Put your spirit at ease." Mission accomplished.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
On his follow-up to 2003's successful Chocolate Factory, scandal-plagued R. Kelly spins his notoriety for sympathy, acknowledging that he's a flawed man and a sinner, but he believes in God and is just looking for love and peace. That, in a nutshell, is the theme of Happy People/U Saved Me, a double disc containing two distinct albums (just like OutKast's Speakerboxx/The Love Below). The first, Happy People, is a seductive, late-night album about positivity and love, the second all about salvation and God. Taken as a whole, the album presents Kelly as a saved sinner who still struggles with temptation -- struggles that are chronicled joyfully on Happy People and remorsefully on U Saved Me. Since Happy People/U Saved Me delivers two distinct and cohesive albums, it offers further ammunition for those defenders of Kelly who claim that he's made the best music of his career when under fire. There's validity to that argument. Kelly has shrugged off the celeb cameos that littered his earlier work and he's backed away from any contemporary beats, relying on the classic '70s soul that has always been at the core of his best music. He's turned inward, and that insularity has helped focus him, giving Happy People the feel of an old-school loverman record. At its core, Happy People is a seduction record, and seduction has always been Kelly's strength, so it shouldn't be a huge surprise that it, overall, is the more successful album of the two, the one that sustains its romantic mood and delivers it with stylish economy. As a record, it's assured and coherent, with little flab and a consistent vision; it's one of his strongest efforts. But U Saved Me isn't far behind as a cohesive work either, perhaps lacking the hooks of its companion but never deviating from its religious spirit. Overall, Happy People/U Saved Me captures Kelly at the top of his game as a record-maker, which makes it a definitive work of sorts.
Rolling Stone - Jon Pareles
His latest two-CD set has two titles and two missions: Happy People aims for dancing and romancing, while U Saved Me calls for fervent prayer.

Product Details

Release Date:


Album Credits

Performance Credits

R. Kelly   Primary Artist,Vocals
Yvonne Gage   Choir, Chorus
Larry Gold   Conductor
Donnie Lyle   Bass,Guitar,Vocals,Background Vocals
Jeffrey Morrow   Choir, Chorus
Johnny Rutledge   Choir, Chorus
Kelly Price   Vocals
Stevie Robinson   Choir, Chorus
Joan Collaso   Choir, Chorus
Armirris Palmore   Choir, Chorus
Roberta Thomas   Choir, Chorus
Cristino Sanchez   Choir, Chorus
Abel Garibaldi   Vocals,Background Vocals
Kendall D. Nesbitt   Keyboards,Vocals
Gregg Landfair   Guitar
Michael Avery   Choir, Chorus
Paul Mabin   Choir, Chorus
Rodney East   Keyboards
Nathan Wheeler   Vocals,Background Vocals
Delatrice Alexander   Choir, Chorus
Felicia Coleman Evans   Choir, Chorus
Lori Holton Nash   Choir, Chorus
Lauren Pilot   Choir, Chorus
George I. III Broughton   Choir, Chorus
Sonya Frank   Choir, Chorus
Kimberly Ann Franklin   Choir, Chorus
Senabelle Gill   Choir, Chorus
Dejah Gomez   Choir, Chorus
Pastor Chris Sr. Harris   Choir, Chorus
Devin B. Thompson   Choir, Chorus
Uncle Life   Vocals,Background Vocals

Technical Credits

R. Kelly   Arranger,Composer,Producer,String Arrangements,Audio Production
Dee Dee   Illustrations
Larry Gold   String Arrangements
Peter Mokran   Engineer
Jackie Murphy   Art Direction
Abel Garibaldi   Programming,Engineer
Andy Gallas   Programming,Engineer
Ian Mereness   Programming,Engineer
Steve Bearsley   Programming,Engineer
Jason Mlodzinski   Programming,Engineer
Nathan Wheeler   Programming,Engineer
Omar Gilbert   Contributor

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Happy People/U Saved Me 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love this cd, but I love all of R.Kelly's music. This cd makes me just want to step all night and have a good time/Happy People. I like some songs on the U Saved Me side. When I first heard U Saved Me it was like a chill went down my spine and I got teary eyed. R.Kelly just keep all the good music coming and keep your head up.
Guest More than 1 year ago
With this CD R Kelly truly proves his position as the number one Soul/R&B artist in modern music and as a high positioned member in music history.
Guest More than 1 year ago
R Kelly will always be #1 to me. I beleive this is a wonderful CD. If you listen to all of his music you will notice how he has grown throughout the years. I know that he will have much more to come in the future. Keep'em coming!!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I wasn't into "U Saved Me" at all because I'm agnostic, but I wouldn't knock it either. The man can sing and the beats were very cool, it just wasn't my cup of tea. I plan to sell that half of the cd. Now as for the other part--I'm all over stepping! My mother used to drag me on the floor and forced me to learn how to step and now I'm glad she did because this side was popping. R. Kelly is a performer but if he decided to become a deejay, he'd be GREAT because I love his intros about as much as I love his songs. I like it when he breaks it down at the end of some of the songs "Uh uh uh...alright now...uh huh...now if you wanna step..." you know the rest. He's just a phenomenal artist. I prefer the body knocking hip-hop feel he usually provides but I can see why he went this route. It shows how well-rounded he is too.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Once again R. kelly done it. The first songs off the double cd are great.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love that song! It brought tears to my eyes. God is real
Guest More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
He is truly one of the greatest. He is the R in R&B.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
The song U Saved Me is EXCELLENT! I only hope R. Kelly continues to make more of these types of CD'S.
Guest More than 1 year ago
r kelly does it again.this album is an album that all ages can relate to
Guest More than 1 year ago
Its about time some music can out that made you feel good about life. This CD sets the mood to have a good time, its perfect for the road, it even gets you feeling good a spiritual level. Look for the steppin' craze to take over (look out booty shakers), this is grown folks music....