Alicia Keys hasn’t been in the spotlight much these past couple years. She finally released her fifth album titled Girl on Fire. The artist has called this album a musical autobiography, in which she gets more personal than any other record. This is an emotional collection of work that shows a completely different side of the beloved singer/songwriter.
“Brand New Me” is the perfect opening track for this type of album. It’s just Keys with her voice and her piano, which is what fans fell in love with in the first place. The song displays her not being afraid to go after what she wants, despite many people not approving of her choices. The powerful vocals drive the point of the lyrics home.
“When Itʼs All Over,” the second song of the album switches up the vibe quite a bit. A low resonating synth bass line is the foundation of the song, with 60ʼs style percussive elements adding on in the background. The sound is completely original from anything else we’ve heard from Keys in the past.
“Listen To Your Heart” has a very old school R&B feel to it. It’s obvious she is going back to her musical roots and not complying to the radio standard. With very simple instrumentation and light vocal echo’s, this piece creates a relaxed lounge feeling while still remaining exciting.
The fourth song off the album “New Day” opens with high energy. A snare drum beat gets the energy of the song started. This empowering piece speaks to starting over and not letting the past get you down. Elements of bravery and strength reign throughout this song. It’s a true celebration of Keys wanting a fresh start.
The next song “Girl On Fire” has been released as a single and become very popular. There is a version titled "The Inferno Version" that is featured on the album. In this version Nicki Minaj starts out the song with a rhyme, giving it a little bit of a different feel. Then the addicting vocal line comes in, and it’s hard not to feel empowered as a woman while listening. Minaj adds in another rhyme in the middle of the track.
This track is certainly one that will go down in the record books. Track number six called “Fire We Make” has a gentle grace to it. It begins with a clap beat, and extremely sultry vocals. She doesn’t come out with her usual in-your-face-style voice. This song features her softer side and gets very personal.
“Tears Always Win” follows that song with something even more heartfelt. Like a couple others on the album, this song goes back to the R&B roots that Keys began with. The soulful lyrics display an honesty that could not have been easy to put on paper. The gospel style background vocals added layers to the piece.
“Not Even The King” goes back to the beautiful simplicity of her voice and the piano. This combination with any Keys song, especially off this record, overflows with soul and passion.
“That’s When I Knew” compliments the album well. It stays with the theme of the album and remains simple yet strong melodically. The lyrics of this song, like the rest of the album, certainly don’t hold anything back.
“Limitedless” shows versatility with very intense reggae influences. Upon hearing the beat to this track I was certainly taken by surprise. Considering the vibe of most of the album this track has its own separate personality. This further proves that Keys doesn’t care to follow the rules and it pays off in this track. I dare you to listen to this song and not feel the urge to move.
The final two tracks on the album “One Thing” and “101” have very emotional lyrics and melodies. “One Thing” describes a love above all other and not being afraid to admit it and go after it. “101” is a very original and interesting piece. Itʼs the perfect ending to the type of record Keys wanted to produce. It takes about thirty seconds to get to the lyrics and they start out very slow and soft. As the song progresses it takes on different elements, and builds towards the last minute and a half of this nearly seven minute piece. The final ninety seconds of this album are truly unforgettable.
Alicia Keys has been known throughout her career for her piano skills and powerful voice. This album gives her fans a chance to get inside her head more than ever before. Donʼt think you are an Alicia keys fan? Well, take a listen to this album because it might just turn you.