Alicia Keys is back. Four years post-release of her sixth studio album ‘HERE’, the R&B goddess has finally released a new project, and it’s her most sociopath-political project to date. ‘ALICIA’ is filled with fifteen tracks full of lyrically smooth ear-pleasing realness that see Alicia Keys return to the sound that introduced her to the world. Inspired by her most recent memoir ‘More Myself: A Journey’, ‘ALICIA’ explores her rooted personal journey of womanhood, allowing us to hear the evolution in her sound.
From competing in her very own VERZUZ battle to launching a beauty line with E.l.f., Alicia has been keeping everyone guessing on what was to come musically. Initially set for release back in March but then pushed back twice due to COVID, we’ve heard a multiple of releases since September last year. From Show Me Love (featuring Miguel), Underdog (featuring Sampha) and So Done (featuring Khalid), Ms Keys has kept abreast with what she was about to deliver.
Detailing the unbreakable relationship between herself, her views of the world and her beliefs, ‘ALICIA’ opens the album correctly with Truth Without Love, a track filled with heavenly harmonies that excites you right off the back. Followed by Time Machine - a funk hit that takes you back to the sound of the 80s and Authors of Forever, you can hear here pain at wanting to be seen for who she really is. “I’ve always wanted people to really know me; I just wasn’t ready to share it. But now I am” she told us back in May when speaking about ALICIA. “There’s openness, more clarity. I’ve got a bigger perception of where I want to go”.
‘ALICIA’ is coated in many statements and themes all the way through. From motherhood to ownership, the project does an excellent job of delivering R&B anthems that is lyrically pleasing to the ears. As the album continues, tracks like Wasted Energy, which takes you back to 2006 reminding you of her excellent Alicia’s vocals were on Cham’s Ghetto Story. In my opinion, the album is less pop and more R&B, which is a significant change from her last project.
Tracks like ‘Me x 7’ which features Philadelphia’s most exquisite Tierra Whack brings you warmth and comfort, instantly exciting you to continue on the album. Enlisting the vocals from a few artists including Diamond Platnumz, Miguel and Sampha, I enjoyed the selection of artists she’s worked with to make this album come alive.
There are a few standout tracks on this album like ‘JILL SCOTT’ featuring Jill Scott herself and ‘Good Job’but the one leading the race for me is You Save Me featuring Snoh Aalegra. Both of their voices together bring you chills that last the whole three minutes and forty-one seconds. With Snoh currently leading the pack for women in R&B right now, it’s no surprise that these meet made magic for this album.
‘ALICIA’ is an impressive record to her career and her return to music. A perfectly balanced album that matches her newfound vibe as a woman ready to tell her truth. This album is a note that good things come to those who wait.
Words: Shakeena Johnson
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