Friday, November 30, 2012

Alicia Keys – Girl on Fire (2012) – Review

Review: Girl on Fire is Alicia Keys’s fifth album, following up The Element of Freedom (which I liked a lot), an album in which she brought a new sound to her music, working with producer Jeff Bhasker (who works extensively with Kanye West, especially on his 808s & Heartbreak album).

For Girl on Fire, Keys presents a multifaceted sound (though, for the most part relaxed). It both encompasses the modern R&B sound that Keys brought forth with The Elements of Freedom and has a classical jazz/soul feel. This is an easy-listening album, which invites the listener to just sit back and take in (basking in its light – so to speak). However, fans of Keys’s old work are still probably not going to be happy, as it is clear she has moved on to a new overall sound as she has grown and developed as an artist. Keys works with an array of great producers on the album (including: Jamie xx, Darkchild, Swizz Beatz, Dr. Dre, Jeff Bhasker, Salaam Remi, Pop Wansel and Oakwud, and Malay), but there is still a unified feel, as Keys also produces many of the songs herself.

Lyrically, Keys sings about female empowerment, heartbreak and love – all typical topics in her music. It is clear that she is in a happy place in her life. Along with writing much of the music and lyrics herself, Keys also works with fantastic song writers on the album (including: John Legend, Bruno Mars, Babyface, and Frank Ocean).

While Girl on Fire does not change the game or set Alicia Keys alone as R&B’s greatest female artist, it is still a strong album and one of the best in its genre this year. I think it is an album that will only get better with time, as it seems to grow on me with each listen. It is well worth checking out. 3/5

Essential Tracks:
1)      Girl on Fire (Inferno Version) – Produced by Alicia Keys, Salaam Remi and Jeff Bhasker, featuring Nicki Minaj
2)      101 – Produced by Alicia Keys
3)      New Day – Produced by Swizz Beatz and Dr. Dre

Available on: CD and Digital Download

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