Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Review of the Week: Alicia Keys 'The Element of Freedom'

I realise this album has been out for ages, but it deserves to have more recognition!

The Grammy Award Winning artists new album has been around for a few years now and with Number One hits like ‘New York’ featuring Jay-z, you might ask why an 18 year old boy would be interested in this album. Well, to tell you the truth, I fancied a change. With the ever changing beats of today’s Top 40 - your Cheryl ‘I can’t sing’ Cole to N - ‘We’re cool, yeh’ Dubz’ it’s hard to find something ‘easy listening.’

However “The Element of Freedom” is just that. Keys inevitably delivers to us a strong, recognisable voice whose lyrics are just as important as the glitzy videos or a-list collaborations (husband and wife team Beyonce and Jay-z both feature). ‘New York’ was for me one of the best songs of 2010, with both versions (with and without Jay Z) being performed brilliantly. So much so that I called up the local radio to find out who was singing to ‘concrete jungle where dreams are made of.’
Other hits including ‘Doesn’t Mean Anything’ and ‘This Bed’ see Keys mixing into pop, the popular genre of many a music listener. Moreover, she does it beautifully. With her amazing credentials, that being her talent not only to sing and look good, but to play the piano masterfully, the songs only add to the excitement as the notes smoothly glide through your ears.
Personally, my favourite songs are where Keys takes a step back from the “pop” stereotype and creates a unique hybrid of genres. In ‘Try sleeping with a broken heart’, the piano is replaced with a strong, powerful drumbeat that echoes the narrative of the lyrics. Her live performances regularly prove a talking point. Another hybrid, the clash of ‘diva’ to put it in a male perspective, of seeing the R&B sensations Beyonce and Alicia dueting was the finale of a truly great album.

As ever, Alicia Keys truly dominates the piano and crescendo that cultivates into another outstanding album. Her musicality is amazing and inspiring to music lovers everywhere who long to find that place ‘where dreams are made of.’ For me, Keys has found that place.

Best Song: Try Sleeping with a Broken Heart

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Article Written by Kieran Watkins

Picture Courtesy of Wikipedia

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