Review : Alicia Keys - Songs In A Minor
PopmattersIn the aftermath of Jill Scott’s surprising breakthrough last year and in what is year four of the Badu evolution, there have been several remarkable debuts. The perpetually over-hyped India.Arie, Syleena Johnson, Sunshine Anderson have all emerged as solid singer/songwriters running the gamut of neo-soul exotic, post-modern chitlin’ circuit chanteuse and the “round-the-way” baby-girl. While this critic suspects that much of India.Arie’s debut project was cautiously manufactured somewhere in Kadar-world (I believe there’s a Dionne Farris somewhere up in her spirit that need to be loosed), all three of these artists, with various degrees of difference, were allowed to be active agents in the music they produced. The significance of this fact is probably lost on most contemporary pop audiences. As recently as a decade ago it was unusual for women artists to wield any real influence in the production of their projects, unless they were aligned with an indie label, and such autonomy was practically non-existent for new women artists, Sarah McLachlan notwithstanding. Such autonomy was practically non-existent within R&B. Even as Beyonce coyly tries to get us to believe that she is an “independent” woman and a “survivor”, the reality is that outside of the neo/alternative/organic soul universe, a great many R&B songstresses wear sequin dresses, long black boots, halter tops (or too-tight T-shirts) and sing songs written and produced by men.
And such were the plans at Columbia Records for a 17-year-old musical prodigy named Alicia Keys. Unfortunately for the label Keys had other plans and after an amicable spilt from Jermaine Dupree’s So So Def camp, Keys was signed to Arista by Clive Davis who bought out her contract at Columbia. Keys subsequently followed Davis to J Records, a new label founded by the industry veteran that would later add Luther Vandross and Busta Rymes to its roster. Like John Hammond before him, who was credited with “discovering” Billie Holiday, Aretha Franklin and Bob Dylan, Davis has had a particular eye for talent during his 40-year sojourn in the recording industry. Janis Joplin, Patti Smith and Whitney Houston are but three of the names that Davis has been credited with introducing to the pop world, thus interests and expectations are obviously high for Songs in A Minor, the debut recording of the now 20-year-old Alicia Keys....full text
Contactmusic.Young, New York legend Alicia Keys is certainly a household name around the world. With a career with distinction that boasts far beyond her years, Alicia's first contribution in 2001 was indeed a classic. It's fitting in this world of change and harmony to reintroduce such a positive message of peace, hope and love, from a talented girl whose virtuoso piano playing and soulful elegance combined to create 'Songs in A Minor'. For many it was a flash of brilliance from such a musically mature girl, it almost felt like this was the future.
The Collectors Addition is pretty much a replay of the original, with CD2 and DVD clips. It has been a long time since I heard 'Songs In A Minor' and to hear the whole album again in its entirety reminded me of how expressive, honest, heartfelt and genuine this American girl is. The talent speaks for itself in beautifully crafted songs like 'Goodbye', 'Butterflyz' and of course the classic hit 'Fallin'. The shape and scope of this debut album certainly shows pristine quality with an ethic to professionalism and a humility in Key's voice, that stands her apart from other singers in any genre. The keyboard skills are heavyweight and the album as a whole, a genuinely great piece of work...full text
MetacriticThis is one of the best albums of our era. Alicia Keys delivers an amazing mix of R&B, Blues and Soul on one of the best debut albums of all time, one which showcases the amazing talent which we have discovered, songwriting to dream of and an ability unseen by her contemporaries. This album is the album of our generation, and it all comes from the place where it hits the most: the heart. ...full text
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