Music Reviews
Alicia Keys

Alicia Keys

The Element of Freedom

J Records

When 20-year-old Alicia Keys conquered the charts in 2001 with her monstrous, multi-million-selling, Grammy-winning debut record Songs in A Minor, she immediately stood out from the pack of modern day, filth-spewing and considerably less talented competitors. Quickly, comparisons were made between the classically trained New York-born singer/ songwriter/ pianist and old school R&B artists from a bygone era. Now, nearly a decade later and over 30 million albums sold, Keys returns with her fourth studio effort, The Element of Freedom.

Created by a cast of producers including Keys, Jeff Bhasker, Swizz Beats, Noah “40” Shebib and Kerry “Krucial” Brothers, Element of Freedom boasts an array of selections ranging from fabulous to torturous.

At its worst, this slick and overproduced record offers such uninspiring, mid-tempo clunkers as “Wait Til You See My Smile” and “Love Is My Disease.” On the upside, the piano/ vocal “That’s How Strong My Love Is” is a sweet and simple, heartfelt love song, while the Prince-ish “This Bed” is possibly the best of the bunch. Although “Doesn’t Mean a Thing” and “Try Sleeping with a Broken Heart” have been touted as (minor) hits, Keys comes nowhere close to recreating the magic of such past gems as “Fallin’,” “You Don’t Know My Name,” or “If I Ain’t Got You.”

Alicia Keys: http://

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