Alicia Keys has lost her fire in her fifth album, “Girl on Fire,” which was released on Nov. 23.
I should probably preface this review by telling you that I am not the biggest fan of R&B and soul. I do respect the artistry of a fellow pianist and singer, but nearly everything about this album is dim.
Following her signature piano introduction, Keys opens “Girl on Fire” with the song, “Brand New Me,” which speaks of her transformation since her last album. Keys just give birth to her son and this is the first album that she has released since then, so the introduction is expected.
The theme of transformation, which is apparent throughout the album, has been beaten to death by other artists such as Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears, and is nothing that is shocking or interesting for fans to listen to. Strangely enough, the lyrics say, “Don’t be surprised.” Don’t worry; I’m not because I’ve heard this type of song far too many times and they have been done better.
The single “Girl on Fire,” which has reached number four on Billboard’s top R&B and Hip-Hop Songs chart, showcases Keys’s belt and wide range. It feels like one of the only songs where she really lets her voice go; however, the lyrics become monotonous quickly, repeating the phrase “girl on fire” more than necessary.
The biggest disappointment of this album is that many of the songs lack momentum. Keys’ other albums have incorporated some pop flair or upbeat tracks, like “Karma” and “No One.” Generally, there was more passion and power in her voice in past projects.
In an interview with TIME magazine, Keys says that she is happy with her personal life and the results of her album, although listeners would not be able to hear that in her songs.
The only relatively upbeat song in the album is “When It’s All Over” (ironic, because I wish the album was over). It has a great tune, a strong beat and her voice is full of vibrato and excitement as she sings romantically, “At least I got to love you when it’s all over.”
Overall, I think Alicia Keys has done much better with her previous albums, which feature better collaborations with artists like Beyonce Knowles and John Mayer. Her solos are also more impressive, featuring her raw, soulful voice and more interesting lyrics.
Melissa Murray can be reached at Melissa.email@example.com. edu.