Metascore
66

Generally favorable reviews - based on 16 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 16
  2. Negative: 1 out of 16
  1. Charming, unpretentious and effortless, the singer presides over a party whose pace never flags and whose soul is fun-loving and wholesome. [22 Aug 2004]
  2. 80
    [Happy People] is a cunning, crackling, can't-keep-still classic. [Nov 2004, p.120]
  3. A definitive work of sorts since he's at the top of his game as both a craftsman and conman.
  4. 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]
  5. The mood for both is, in a word, joyous.
  6. Kelly has an uncanny ability to mix retro sounds with tasty dollops of contemporary seasoning.
  7. 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.
  8. U Saved Me's songs of praise like "Leap of Faith" and "Prayer Change" can be taken in two ways: attempts at redemption for what you've just heard or hollow attempts at album sales.
  9. 60
    These records are too dramatic, too personal and, well, too much. [Oct 2004, p.110]
  10. Where Happy People only exercises Kelly's technique, U Saved Me adds some heart.
  11. The Happy People side, inspired by the Chicago steppin' scene, shows why [Kelly] is still a contender.
  12. 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.
  13. Happy People [is] a featherweight collection of midtempo, Marvin Gaye-influenced tunes... The sacred material on U Saved Me, by contrast, is more exciting--and troubling.
  14. 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.
  15. There's something rather unambitious about this set.
  16. His productivity isn't exuberance, it's greed; his PG rating isn't scruples, it's cowardice.

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