Alicia Keys: Getting gritty and political

in-common-6792_pk_alicia57-a2a8ccb9-1489-40c4-9295-c706e5af5745By Yena Hong | Staff Writer |

After four years since her last album release, Alicia Keys is back with her new album “Here” which was released through RCA Records on Nov. 4.

The album “Here” contains 18-tracks with different musical styles like groovy, dancy and slow-jam includes “The Gospel,” “Pawn It All,” “Holy War” and so on.

Throughout the album, Keys showcases her soulful voice that perfectly balanced the different instruments used; acoustic guitar, piano, and drums.

Keys expresses her freedom and openness throughout ‘Here’.

“She Don’t Really Care_1 Luv” is a song described places that contributed to her personal identities.

“She grew up in Brooklyn/ She grew up in Harlem/ She grew up in Bronx/ She know she was a queen,” Keys describes the diverse roots that have provided a life-long grounding with the spectacularly contrasting facets of the New York City.

Through this track, she declares that “life just isn’t fair.” She exposes the inequality in society and expresses her desire for freedom.

“I really liked this new album. I think lyrically, each song is very powerful and real. Especially ‘Holy War’ which I think conveys an important message about love, hate, and equality. The rest of the songs share meaningful messages on life that people will find common ground in,” said Rocio Fuentes.

Fuentes said that the only thing she sees that would be off-putting for some is the feel of the music which is very blues in general compared to her more popular hip-hop hits. But it’s definitely worth a listen.

The track ‘The Gospel’ includes her powerful voice and strong rhythmic drum sounds. There are few melodies so that Keys’s voice stands out in bold relief the song and heard lyrics clearly.

The title song ‘Pawn It All’, a harmony with Alicia Keys’s vocal and rapid drum beats, makes listeners nod.

“The track ‘Pawn It All’ is really attractive to me. The sound of the music is a jazz ballad, so I can imagine myself in the pub with my lover drinking a few drinks. This music makes me think back to my past, on a rainy day with groovy rhythms,” said Yunbeen Kim.

Student Lester Morales said that he thinks it is her most experimental and the best album that she has released thus far.

“The album has many different genres mixed together. I like how she tossed aside her signature piano playing on this album and used guitars and other instruments. I also like how she was more artistic like she didn’t follow the generic pop music formula with a catchy chorus,” continued Morales.

“This album is a well-organized with various tracks. While I was listening to ‘Pawn It All’, all the melodies were so powerful and intense. Especially the hook, I felt it is more special than intro with calm melodies even I couldn’t realize the meaning of lyrics. The melodies were escalating to a higher level. Keys’s ‘Here’ makes me keep all the tracks on my playlists,” said Sohyun Jun.

This single has drawn attention to Jay-Z, Nas, Q-Tip, John Mayer, Pharrell Williams, Emeli Sandé, A$AP Rocky and Swizz Beatz to take part in working on the album as featured artists.

If you have never listened to Keys, you are truly missing out. If you want to hear her impressive and powerful songs, then you will enjoy listening to her new album “Here.”

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