12 time Grammy Award winner Alicia Keys returns with her 4th studio album The Element Of Freedom on December 15. Alicia has sold over 26 million albums worldwide and over 6.7 million digital tracks in the US. Featuring t... more »he hits "Doesn't Mean Anything" and "Try Sleeping With A Broken Heart", The Element Of Freedom promises to be one of Alicia Keys biggest releases to date.« less
12 time Grammy Award winner Alicia Keys returns with her 4th studio album The Element Of Freedom on December 15. Alicia has sold over 26 million albums worldwide and over 6.7 million digital tracks in the US. Featuring the hits "Doesn't Mean Anything" and "Try Sleeping With A Broken Heart", The Element Of Freedom promises to be one of Alicia Keys biggest releases to date.
"I was a bit apprehensive with the new album when I heard and saw the video for the first single "Doesn't Mean Anything". It just seemed like it went on and on, and it got boring afterwhile. Then my interest was peaked a bit when the second single "Try Sleeping With A Broken Heart" was released; I didn't care for the video all too much but it was different than her other singles. So when the day came that it finally came out, I figure why not get it (or someone get it for me). Alicia Keys has never let me down with previous albums, despite the inconsistencies on each album. I put the album in and I haven't stop playing it since. For starters, she actually put an intro, and it makes sense and its pretty deep given its short. Then it continues into "Love Is blind" which I really really love because it's not her usual sound and register, I almost thought it was somebody else. The lyrics are 'take 'em or leave 'em' but the music and the production is so addictive, you're jamming anyway. By the time "Doesn't Mean Anything" came around, it made sense where it was and it was less obnoxious after hearing "Love Is Blind". Although, I cringe when artists put all there singles in chronological order on the album, it didn't bother me much when the song was followed by the 2nd single "Try Sleeping With A Broken Heart". There are slight weak moments: "Wait Til You See Smile" is one of those light, fluffy records on the album that teeter between fluff and filler. But I will give Alicia credit for putting those light, airy songs between heavy hitting moments on the album. My two all-time favorites on the album, three if you include "Try Sleeping With A Broken Heart", are That's How Strong My Love Is" & "Un-thinkable (I'm Ready)". The lyrics of "That's How Strong My Love Is" are reminscient of the flow of "If I Ain't Got You" & "This Woman's Worth". Her phrasing in the song gives me chills and the haunting chords in the background just knock me out. The chorus is one of her strongest choruses and is a testament of how deep she is as an artist. I really love "Un-thinkable (I'm Ready)" because it has a nice groove but it also makes you think of those intimate occasions with a special someone. That also gives me chills. "Love Is My Disease" reminds me of the song featuring John Mayer from her last album, her voice is a bit hoarse which works for the urgency of the song. This girl shows vulnerability like no other female artist, outside of Beyonce. "Like the Sea" is another light song but its more about her piano skills than it is about the material. so that's about a 3/5 "Put It In A Love Song", O.M.G. I was a little curious how it was going to work with Beyonce & Alicia. Both are strong women but their styles are different but very much high grade. I could've did without the simple beat but they both brought their A-game to this song. "This Bed" another light song but the beat is a bit addictive I guess Alicia had to add some more depth and eclectism to her album, "Distance & Time" and "How It Feels To Fly" are what that's for. "Empire State Of Mind (Part II)" is almost a better version than the original. She kept the chorus, which made sense, but she added her own words. I love it...
all and all, this is one of her more impressive and fun records and it sounded like she was more free on this record...
Never misses a beat!
Nse Ette | Lagos, Nigeria | 12/15/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"On studio album #4, Alicia Keys stretches herself even more, vocally and musically. She uses that higher/strained-sounding register she introduced on her last album (especially on a song like "No one"), as well as huskier, Rockier sounding tones. Lyrically, there seems to be a theme of pain and longing caused by love.
The result is a rather eclectic sounding album, very pleasing to the ears. She sounds virtually unrecognisable on the opening Rock-tinged ballad "Love is blind" (with awesome harmonies and an impassioned fiery delivery from Keys), my absolute favourite song. The single "Doesn't mean anything" reminds one of the afore mentioned "No one" (same thumping beats and feel), while "Try sleeping with a broken heart" is simply beautiful with feathery vocals offset by thundering beats, and a nice piano coda.
Everything stands out really; "Wait til you see my smile" (with marching beats and soulful harmonies), the beautiful piano ballad "That's how strong my love is" (reminds me of "Tender love" by Force MDs), the melancholic soul of "Un-thinkable (I'm ready)", the Reggae-tinged "Love is my disease", the cascading piano-sprinkled "Like the sea" (with a classical overture, and interesting synth flourishes), the sunny sounding "This bed" (on which she pines for her lover), the soulful ballad "Distance and time", and the Retro Soul of "How it feels to fly".
Closing is a drastic makeover of her hit with Jay-Z, "Empire state of mind (Part II) Broken down", a very soulful Jazzy piano ballad with just Keys vocals. The lone song I don't quite get is the contemporary R&B dance song "Put It In A Love Song" featuring Beyoncé, and which can best be described as "Single ladies part II". Same skeletal sound, chants and drum rolls, and even similar lyrical theme: "Say you love me, then put it in a love song". I didn't like it at first, but it does grow on you and if you're one of those that loved "Single ladies" (I wasn't), you'll love this.
I think this album will catch fans of her Soul sound a bit off guard as it is more experimental, but it's an album that richly rewards. Definitely one of her best efforts!"
Alicia Keys evolves....
Laquanda Parris | New York, NY | 01/07/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"First off let me say that I really respect and appreciate Alicia Keys as an artist and I have been a true fan from the beginning. I love that all her albums reflect real life and touch your inner most emotions with such a soulful voice. The album Element of Freedom is no different. Her 1st non musical Intro is so short but yet so powerful! Some tracks have a different sound, like "Love is Blind" and "This Bed" and it's obvious that she is evolving as a woman and an artist. My favorites are "Put it in a Love Song", "Un-thinkable(I'm Ready)", "Try Sleeping with a Broken Heart", "Empire State of Mind II", "Wait Til You See My Smile", "Like the Sea", "Distance and Time", "How it Feels to Fly"...Ok, wow let me stop cuz that's most of the album! Anyway, I do love this album and haven't put it down yet. And no, it's not my favorite album from her (cuz that would be "Diary"), but I still love it anyway cuz it's Alicia Keys expressing her personal trials and tribulations while growing into her own skin. Not everyone can express their life's ups and downs through songs, but Alicia always sings straight from the heart and you can't help but to respect that."
Thank You Alicia for another great album
king_lee | Baton Rouge, La | 12/15/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I bought this album first thing this morning and on the first listen i honestly told myself,"I can see myself really getting into this album--still not quite as good as as i am but thats okay"(who really outdoes themselves back to back on every album, i think it's always a lot of hit and miss and because you really like the artist you take the good with the not so good)
Note:What i don't understand is why other reviewers have to form some kind of an opinion about other peoples reviews--everybodys entitled to their own opinion its not that serious.
Now to the album--I,as a fluent music listener and alicia keys fan,appreciate when an artist changes it up every album,i also believe its not fair to compare albums unless the album is just really gagrbage---and this album is NOT garbage--trust me.This album is just a distinct change from alicia's normal style(which every album has been--go listen before you speak)and i appreciate it.Just give it a chance--i think if you are a true alicia keys fan, and not just someone who calls themselves a fan because she's popular and you thought it was the cool thing to buy her previous albums,you'll really enjoy this album.It may not hit you as soon as As I Am probably did but youll still enjoy it very much.GREAT LYRICS,GREAT TRACKS,GREAT TOPICS,GREAT VOICE.
HIGHLIGHTS: Love is Blind Thats How Strong my Love is Love is my Disease Like the Sea Distance and Time How it Feels to Fly
others are still really good..
"IF YOU HAVE TO WALK A MILLION MILES, I'LL WAIT A MILLION DA
D THRILL | PG County, MD | 12/23/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"For me its hard to pick a favorite Alicia Keys album. Not because each album is great but because all of them are different. "Songs In A Minor" was an introduction to who she is. "Diary of Alicia Keys" gave us more of her personal side. "As I Am" was a statement album. With her latest "The Element of Freedom", Ms. Keys continues her climb to superstardom.
The joy of this album occurs in the first 6 songs. Alicia Keys opens with "Love Is Blind" which has a very seductive beat. She follows that up with her first single "Dosent Mean Anything"."Try Sleeping With A Broken Heart" is a good mid-tempo track. This is followed by two ballads "Wait Til' You See My Smile" & "That's How Strong My Love Is". After that the album loses some of its flavor with "Un-Thinkable, Love Is My Disease & Like The Sea". It drops even lower by time you get to "This Bed". And it hits rock bottom by the time you get to the highly anticipated Beyonce duet,"Put It In A Love Song". Even through all the ups and downs, the saving grace of this album is "Empire State Of Mind (Part II)". With just her and a piano for most of the song, she took one hot hook and made it a whole song.
Alicia Keys is a major player in the R & B game. She went from being that piano playing, light-skinned girl with the braids to one of the most successful artist of this generation. She brings something new everytime she drops an album. Her talent is so different from Beyonce & Keyshia Cole. This dosent make her better than them just on another playing field. And now "Element of Freedom" is Alicia's most musical album to date. She experiments with so many different sounds we are not use to hearing. Her voice is as powerful as ever, choosing to rely more on vocals than instruments to carry the album. This is not a perfect album, but it is another good listen by a person who was born to make music."