R. Kelly, "When a Woman Loves"

3.5

With some of his best-known songs existing in the pop and hip-hop realms, it's easy to forget how commanding R. Kelly's voice can become on a no-frills soul track. "When a Woman Loves" echoes the slow-paced beauty of The Penguins' "Earth Angel" and Kelly's own "If I Could Turn Back the Hands of Time," with the singer emoting over a quiet beat and simple chord progression. The lyrical content of the song, which focuses on how a woman's unconditional love can breed forgiveness, takes a backseat to Kelly's powerhouse vocal performance. Near the end of the song, the music drops out for over 20 seconds and Kelly hop scotches across syllables before hitting a climactic final note. Most performers could not pull off such an ostentatious moment, but the self-proclaimed "king of R&B" continues to prove himself unparalleled on "When a Woman Loves."