First Hit #1: September 2, 1995
Like most people, I associate R. Kelly with goofball sexuality and mad ambition. So it was something of a shock to hear that Kelly wrote this song for Michael Jackson, a song that is most notable for how sentimental and straightforward it is. It’s just a vaguely gospel-tinged track that could be about a relationship with a distant person, a dead person or God, depending on how you feel like interpreting the song. It’s a pretty common trope in gospel-inspired pop music, appearing several times before, though Jackson does steer it towards it being about a human woman by the end of the song. It’s slightly ambiguous about the subject, but not about the emotions, and it isn’t really anything new. It’s not bad, Jackson does a credible performance and the music is just the right amount of cheese for seasoning. It is, as a whole, totally acceptable as a piece of pop music. It’s just that everyone involved has done music that’s much more compelling and unique.
The video is interesting, as it’s a product of the era when Jackson was getting really self-conscious about his sexuality and the way others viewed it, so in order to prove he liked adult females he decided it would be a great idea and not at all awkward to hang around with his wife while everyone was wearing only strategically placed sheets. It does not help the song.