[NEW RELEASES] Alicia Keys

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[NEW RELEASES] Alicia Keys

Like her stylings on the piano, Alicia Keys’ voice is best when it’s soft and expressive. Her latest album showcases the understated beauty of her voice with soulful R&B ballads about her tireless love.

At times, Keys has borrowed from the iron-lunged Beyonce and Whitney playbook, wailing on tracks. But the songstress tones it down again on this disc, staying in the midrange that makes her shine. Unsurprisingly, the worst track on the album is a duet with Ms. Knowles.

Romance is clearly Keys’s strong suit, and the pleading tone of her voice lends her songs a vulnerable, authentic sense of devotion, as seen on “Love is My Disease.” Even with lyrics like, “When you’re gone it feels like/ my whole world’s gone with you” and “I try to act mature/ but I’m a baby when you leave,” she sounds nothing but earnest and in love - far from the lovesick whiners of rom-coms.

Other standouts - “Distance and Time,” “Doesn’t Mean Anything,” “Try Sleeping with a Broken Heart” - are consolation for anyone pining for their boo.

By Hannah Bae

Alicia Keys

“The Element of Freedom”

Label: RCA/Jive

Genre: R&B
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