The problem separating sinner and salvation seeker into two albums becomes apparent as U Saved Me gets bogged down in one indistinct, syrup-doused ballad after another. [20/27 Aug 2004] [avg. of B+ for Happy People, B- for U Saved Me]
Happy People is, if this is possible, the smoothest and frothiest album of the year. U Saved Me is chicken soup for the soul man. Its born-again ballads are fundamentally frothy, in their heavy-handed, gospel-tinged way.
The first disc finds Kelly honing his already well developed skills at creating effortless dance hooks, but on the second disc Kelly seems to be trapped in staid evangelical idioms and drowning in itchy church choir robes.
An album that makes Up With People sound like Joy Division, Happy People embraces an ecstatic brand of cheerfulness so far removed from the realities of everyday life that it creates a kind of altered state.