Release Date: 06.05.01
Record label: J Records
Genre(s): Rap, Hip-Hop, R&B, etc.
A New Form Of Sexy
by: tom reiter
Today's female artists are being promoted for their sexuality just as much (if not more) as their music. An up and coming artist will be judged on how marketable her body is, along with her music as an entire package. However, artists such as Jill Scott have gone against the satus quo, and proven they can win over fans with purely their voice. Alicia Keys is just such a musician. She joins Scott and fellow vocalist Blu Cantrell in choosing a different fork in the road in not getting their physical appearance in the way of their music. Fans that truly appreciate the music will applaud this.
Alicia makes her debut with Songs in A Minor, a jazzy, r&b effort that seeks to position Keys among the greats. "Girlfriend," which has single written all over it, opens the album and immediately demonstrates the 20-year-old's ability to melt her voice between the keys of her blues piano riff. "Girlfriend," however, pales in comparison to the first release, "Fallin." Here Keys wails relentlessly about her emotional struggle with an on and off relationship.
One of the most defining tracks that seems to sum up what Alicia Keys is all about is "A Woman's Worth." Not a man-bashing track as the title may imply, but more of a definement of how a man should treat a woman. She butters it up with her soulfull voice to add sincerity to her message. She then manages to squeeze in the funky "Rock Wit U" and the more playful, Stevie Wonder-esque "Mr. Man" to round out her repretoire, and closes Songs in A Minor with a handful of ballads to show off her vocals.
Listeners that generally don't stray too much from the top 40 or even the r&b on the radio will love this album from start to finish. However, dedicated soul and blues listeners won't be overly impressed. Although Songs in A Minor is a solid, well polished album, it won't position Alicia Keys ahead of Erykah Badu or India Arie, yet. 12-June-2001 4:00 PM