Friday, November 9, 2007
Rhythmic Review: Alicia Keys - As I Am
I'm a fan of Alicia Keys, and have been since she first came on the scene in 2001 with cornrows, unflattering clothes and a piano seat glued to her ass. While Ive enjoyed both of her past Albums, one of the main things that has made me more critical of her music, more so than others over the years, has been the over hyped, larger than life, Messiah of Music type praises shes received. Songs in A minor was indeed a GREAT album, but did it reinvent anything? no. Did it bring anything new AT ALL to the game? no. Now if u consider a girl with commercial looks singing songs that were everything BUT commercial, than yea, i guess. But was that reason enough to put her on a pedestal? i don't think so..but again, don't get me wrong, miss Alicia is VERY talented and I know she has nothing to do with anything that critics say and who they've compared her to..but that's just how Ive felt...in the past
Going into As I Am I had BIG EXPECTATIONS for the album. I regularly visited the Krucial Keys Blog where Alicia, as well as those from her camp, would routinely update readers on how the album was coming along, and let them tell it, As I Am was going to be something for the history books. While this album isn't perfect, i truly believe that its Alicia's BEST album to date, with a sound that seems more of her own rather than overly inspired and slightly mimicked sound of Soul Legends of the past. I blame this on Alicia's growth and a better understanding on who she is an artist to take chances and experiment with different sounds and genres that are all somehow cohesive more so than her past albums that stuck to a more Soul/R&b formula. The Musical Horizon has been broadened on this effort with Production and collaborations by the likes of Linda Perry, John Mayer and Floetry's main bish Marsha Ambrosious, each bringing in different vibes and sounds that molds with Alicia's and her production partner Krucial Key's beautifully.
Unlike a Britney album, u can't possibly forget to give credit where its justifiably DUE and that's to Alicia and her superb writing skills. Each song is as beautiful as the last, with issues such as good love, bad love and love in general being tackled in a way that doesn't make u get sick of LOVE! One of my personal favorite tracks on the album include "Tell You Something", with its amazing melody change, "The Thing About Love", with its honesty and simplicity (and slight coldplay vibe..am i the ONLY one who feels this?), and most of all my favorite of the bunch "Teenage Love affair". This song jogs the memory of one of Alicia's most soulful and addictive songs to date, the Kanye West produced, "You Don't Know My Name" from her 2003 album Diary of Alicia Keys. Unlike that album, As I Am doesn't suffer from any low points or any real tracks that give a "filler" impression. While the first half of the album isn't nearly as superior as the second half, each track manages to coincide fluidly with damn near perfection. No Alicia isn't this generations Roberta Flack or Aretha Franklin (still waiting on those to be honest, that is if lightning will ever strike twice) but with an album like this, i can NOW finally see how some believe the hype
I give As I Am 4 1/2 Gold records out of 5...because i cant think of anything else witty to give it *shrugs*
AS I AM In Stores November 13th