By Simon Vozick-Levinson
Updated August 27, 2010 at 08:03 PM EDT

R. Kelly’s new single “When A Woman Loves” has a classic throwback vibe unlike most anything in his recent catalog. Such a song requires a very different video treatment than, say, the goofy green-screen adventure that was Kelly’s “Echo.” And after getting an exclusive early look today at the clip that Jeremy Rall and Kelly directed for “When A Woman Loves,” I can tell you that this is indeed not your typical Kells music video.

The video, which is set for an online premiere this coming Monday, was shot entirely in black and white. The camera first rests on a single vintage microphone, then pans wider to show Kelly in a dapper suit, a neat goatee, and blocky eyeglasses. He stands alone on a stage set in front of a short flight of stairs, looking every bit like a modern-day Sam Cooke. (You might also be reminded of Maxwell’s “Fistful of Tears” video from this spring.)

The camera lingers on assorted retro amps and studio equipment as Kelly sings, occasionally cutting away from the main stage performance to show him seated in a car or behind a desk while dressed in a couple of other natty old-school outfits. Around the 3:00 mark, we cut to an all-white room where Kelly is surrounded by dozens of microphones in a press conference-like arrangement. The camera slowly revolves around him, switching at times to an overhead view, while Kelly takes off his jacket for the song’s emotional high point.

The overall visual effect is very cool. According to his label, Kelly drew on memories of his mother’s favorite singers, from Cooke to Marvin Gaye, when planning out this video, and it shows.

Looking forward to seeing the “When A Woman Loves” clip next week? Let us know in the comments.

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