ALICIA KEYS – ‘The Element of Freedom’



Ms Keys presents the world her 4th studio and before I pressed that button on my Spotify, I was quite sceptical. Apart from the fact that her personal life has become the juiciest scandal and slowly tarnishing her fans view of her however, I think Alicia Keys is evolving as a musician and composer. Different from the usual soul echoes, her voice filters passionate rawness and vulnerability. Throughout the 14 track album, the mood is very personal, expressing being deep and longing for love, quite sombre as well. From the horses mouth –
“The way that the songs progress, are gonna take you on a natural high. I just want you to feel a sense of freedom, I want you to feel out-of-the-box, feel inspired.”
Err… don’t if she meant out of the box as in edgy, but it’s definitely not out-of-the-box in my ears. Maybe for her regarding the punchy production.

Her first single ‘Doesn’t Mean Anything’ very similar to ‘No One’ on the previous As I Am album didn’t strike a chord with me. Just lacked soul, I understand it’s for the masses to understand, typical simple singer-songwriter ballad but heartfelt. Even there are a couple punchy tracks ‘Like The Sea’, ‘Try Sleeping With A Broken Heart’ and anticipated duet with the Queen B ‘Put It In A Love Song’ which I must admit, I thought it was RUUBBISH! However, it has grown on me – a blatant Swizz Beats production through that pumping bass drum and jingled production. Other production contributed from her right-hand man Krucial Keys, Jeff Bhasker (Kanye West, Jay-Z, Goapele & Kid Cudi) and herself.

The stand out tracks are – Doesn’t Mean Anything, ‘Love Is My Disease’, Try Sleeping With A Broken Heart, and ballad ‘That’s How Strong My Love Is’ VERY BEAUTIFUL AND ENCHANTING track! Lastly ‘Empire State of the Mind’ Part II which is a broken down version of Jay’s version which is very emotional and empowering, another heart-felt track that gives the goose bumps.

Overall, a good album that doesn’t disappoint… well only if you’re growing with her.

Ratings: 7/10
Akua Afram

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