The Element of Freedom

By Dilim Oranye

On her fourth studio album, The element of freedom, Alicia Keys the twelve-time Grammy Award winner Pop/R&B diva sings about the
implications of love, overcoming heartbreak as well as the strength to overcome the issues of insecurity and loneliness that comes with
independence.

The newest album produced by Keys and released on December 15, 2009 by J Records and MBK Entertainment shows Keys incapability to push her boundaries to sing non clichéd love songs but the album shows her apt ability to experiment with diverse genres. With her third album, As I Am, Keys started using other genres like rock and pop, transitioning her music style from neo soul in her debut album, Songs in a minor to RNB in the latest album.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Alicia Keys describes The element of freedom as a dichotomy of strength and vulnerability with the music really strong, drums aggressive, yet her voice vulnerable and delicate. The Chicago Tribune further said Keys mentioned the album is about overcoming depression and that she intends to express freedom on a deeper level and in an introspective tone.

The sultry and soulful side of Keys is represented in songs about bad break up such as Love is blind, Doesn’t mean anything and Try sleeping with a broken heart showing a little glimpse of the younger version soul vocalist she once was. Although a fast rumbling drum beat can be
catastrophic if not in tune with the vocals, Keys overcomes this in Try sleeping with a broken heart.

Drake lends his background vocals on the slow track Un-thinkable (I’m Ready) and the fast pace duet with Beyoncé, Put It in a Love Song adds an energetic sassiness to the album. The track Put it in a love song’s lyrics talks of a more self-confidence and empowered woman.

The 14 song album closes with Empire state of mind (Part II) broken down a simple evoking remake of a track that Keys collaborated with
Jay-Z on his album The blueprint 3. The track does not feature Jay-Z but pays tribute to New York City in the same way that the original track does. Keys uses the same ascending sonorous bellow of New York vocals as the original song did in celebration of the city?s
prosperity.

A more mature vocal Alicia Keys can be heard in this album and fans may be disappointed that the soul musical style of the artist is heard sparingly.

Photo By: infosjoerd Sjoerd Derine

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