Alicia Keys’ recently released her eighth studio album, Keys, on December 10, 2021. The sequel to 2020’s Alicia, it showcases 26 tracks. It is actually a double album that showcases the hit maker’s raw talent and versatility as an artist. Half of the album are remakes of the original version, plus three originals. It gives plenty of opportunities for close listening and for fans to enjoy every detail that goes into the closely planned album. KEYS “unlock” new doors, and the artist shows new sides of herself in each track and feature on the album.
.@aliciakeys ranks her albums:
2. As I Am
4. The Diary of Alicia Keys
5. Songs In A Minor
7. The Element of Freedom
8. Girl On Firehttps://t.co/NkSEcJrqh5
— TIDAL (@TIDAL) December 22, 2021
The Keys double album and album release uses many of the latest trends in music of this decade. Top-of-the-line production and super slick edits create an interesting audio atmosphere. You can hear additional melodies woven in the Unlocked version as well as driving hip-hop beats. The visualizer element lends the double album to being shared. It helps listeners dive more deeply into the tracks and explore the mind of the artists.
Two of the tracks, “Best of Me” and “LALA” were previously released. While the Keys double album runs an impressive 90 minutes, there is also plenty of other content that keeps fans engaged and tuned in. Along with a short film release with the album, tracks feature videos and also visualizers on the unlocked versions to really immerse in the Keys universe.
The album spans all genres and all seasons of the artist’s life. Tracks like Is It Insane were written in the early 2000s, and finally made their studio debut on her eighth album. Long-time fans recognize her older work and they appreciate the coming back to the “old Alicia” sound that makes Keys feel both familiar and very new at the same time.
— TIDAL (@TIDAL) December 22, 2021
At its core a love album, Keys explores many of the facets of love. Alicia’s first love, the piano, takes center stage again, showcasing the artists’ powerful vocals and lyrical talents. You can also note the play on words, as Alicia uses piano-heavy melodies in all of the tracks with syncopation and genre-bending tracks.
The artist described Side A and Side B of the album as being like Saturday and Sunday. One has laid-back piano melodies while the other is more energetic and drum-driven. Remaking each track in this way showcases the innovation and imagination that characterizes the artist.
Her husband, Swizz Beatz, produced about half of the songs on the album. Also, lyrically, it explores ideas of love and its impact on our lives. Many of the tracks feature a laid-back, prominent jazz influence that calls back to her influences like Nat King Cole and Ella Fitzgerald.
Keys features a powerhouse of industry giants that worked together to create the album. While Keys wrote on every song, she also enlisted the help of many of the greatest talents in entertainment for songwriting. Pieces by country music writer Natalie Hemby and R&B legend Raphael Saadiq are on the album.
The album centers around a soulful feel, with songs that are evocative and timeless. The back-to-basics approach that features her voice, piano, and minimal accompaniment have the biggest impact, highlighting the amazing range and vocal talent of Keys. The album release and marketing also draws fans in and invites their participation.
You would think the collaborations on Side B were a list of the best in hip hop rather than guests on Keys. Snoop Dogg is featured in the short film. Lil Wayne has a verse on Nat King Cole on the Unlocked version for a longer intro. Pusha T and Khalid also make appearances.
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