Alicia Keys released her seventh album "Alicia" on September 18, 2020.
After releasing " Girl on Fire" in 2012, the artist underwent an artistic and personal change, She got tired of so much perfection in her life, stopped wearing makeup and released " Here", a much more raw and jazz-filled , R&B-hop Album, with texts that cover much deeper themes, such as the environmental problem, poverty and addiction to drugs and alcohol. it was what at that moment the New York's artist was able to p erceive and convey through her sensitive soul with the help of the unrivaled talent of her voice and the sound of her piano.
Following the release of her memoir in March, Alicia Keys "alicia" comes from a more personal place than h er previous sets. Some tracks are a bit candid and sweet (in particular Underdog, written together with Ed Sheeran).
But the collaborations provide some surprising moments, like her sweet head-to-head with Jill Scott on a song named after the neo-soul star (Jill Scott) and the delightful collaboration with Miguel (Show Me Love) and Khalid (So Done). Other standout elements include the late night faded beauty of "3 Hour Drive "(featuring Sampha), the sparkling pop of "Me x 7," which boasts the rap skills of Tierra Whack, and the heart-breaking "Perfect Way to Die," which takes on the brutality of American police .. Add the whiny" Good Job", in which the artist works miracles simply using her voice and a piano. So we manage to obtain a largely satisfying mix, where we see the singer with the silky voice, managing skilfully to mix genres, both classic and contemporary.
Rather than relying on the sounds of her past, Alicia chooses new sounds, using the sonic din of structured sequencers, ambient and electronic sound, all while maintaining her usual piano style. The spaciousness allows Keys to let her versatile and nuanced voice speak like never before. All this makes Alicia Keys' seventh studio album a different and interesting project, we find her loosening on the somewhat obvious hooks, pushing herself to the limits of her voice and her imagination. In "Time Machine " we find Keys' voice dripping with reflections, pushing deeper and deeper, layering with different harmonies before reaching a chorus full of bass. synths. While "Wasted Energy" unfolds with dub guitar jumps, samba snaps and sampled screams, Keys finds a dry vocal line in the centre of the vortex in the reggae style , to tell a story about being ignored and unloved.
The album begins with "Truth Without Love", opening with an arrangement of twilight strings, with Alicia rushing her conversation until her words become almost muddy and heavy.
"What if I wasn’t Alicia / Would it please ya ?," rhymes, giving the song a Badu-style ending. When it comes to the lonely "Authors of Forever", Keys lets the faint shudder in her voice carry the melody. It's a bold trick, which allows an un-emphasized moment such a powerful place in the melody.
"You Save Me" gives us an almost familiar feeling, in which a growling and trembling Keys exchanges velvet phrases with the Swedish artist Snoh Aalegra. In the last two pieces we have the most current and desolate twist of Keys, making them both disturbing and encouraging at the same time.
"Perfect Way to Die " is also her most musically pleasing piece. With its pop vibe and light chorus, it sounds almost like a Broadway song - until Keys pulls back and reveals a mother's pain and tears at hearing the news that her son was killed.
Simple walk to the corner store Mama never thought she would be gettin’ a call from the coroner Said her son’s been gunned down, been gunned down “Can you come now?” Tears in her eyes, “can you calm down? Please, ma’am, can you calm down?”
In order not to end the album in a sad mood, Keys chooses to raise the tone a bit with "Good Job." With the muted rhythms and quirky piano behind her famous high register, Keys sings of love as the engine that makes things work, and as the mothers, fathers, teachers and preachers who touch our souls in some way, driving the great joyful machine of life.
It is tradition for musicians to release a self-titled album on their debut, as a clear presentation of themselves to the world. This is the seventh album by the 15 times Grammy-winning artist , so the name on the cover means something slightly different: is she finally the real Alicia? The album was supposed to arrive at the same time as " More Myself: A Journey", her autobiography released by Oprah Winfrey last March, so i t's definitely in self-examination mode. sHe says it clearly in the piece "Me x 7": "
Me, me, me, me, me, me, me / It needs to be about me,"
"Alicia " is an album that confirms Alicia Keys as the artist we have always known, natural, humble , and super talented.