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Keys shows maturity, emotion with “As I am”

Courtesy of aliciakeys.com
Keys’ “As I am” was released Tuesday.

With soulful ballads about learning lessons in love, R&B singer, songwriter and pianist Alicia Keys shows growth in her fourth album, “As I Am,” released Tuesday.

Although only 26, the raspy vocalist delivers a mature sound and message in the song “Lesson Learned” with John Mayer. Keys sings about admitting bad relationships and then learning from them through a laid-back, rock-infused beat a person can cruise to in the car.

Keys also sings comparative to old soul in tracks “Wreckless Love” and “The Thing About Love,” which reveals she has advanced from a high schoolers’ perspective on love to that of a grown woman.

“Superwoman” is the inspirational track dedicated to women who take on many jobs with grace. Keys sings, “Even when I’m a mess /I still put on a vest with an S on my chest /Oh yes/I’m a Superwoman.” The song is on the same lines as “A Woman’s Worth” from her debut album “Songs in A Minor,” which exudes a woman’s power.

“Like You’ll Never See Me Again” is a sweet-sounding, airy song with a reoccurring xylophone melody about not taking love for granted. It has Keys’ sounding similar to Prince, such as in her rendition of his “How Come You Don’t Call Me” from her first album.

“Prelude To A Kiss” is a track that personifies Keys with lyrics, “Sometimes I feel like I don’t belong anywhere /I feel so heavy hearted/but I can’t explain because I’m so guarded /Can you send me an angel to guide me.” This speaks true for the nine-time Grammy winner who has a unique sound, added acting to her long list of talents and strives to keep her love-life private.

Keys manages to have a good balance of mid-tempo and slow songs on the album, and it’s hard to classify “As I Am” in one genre. Each track shows Keys’ versatility and range as an artist, but also sounds similar to all her previous albums.

A new Keys comes out on “As I Am,” with a richer and raw sound, sometimes is mistaken for yelling, especially in tracks such as “No One” and “Sure Looks Good To Me.” Her maturity as an artist and as a person is shown as she gives a little piece of herself on every song.

Heather Hope can be reached at hope.27@osu.edu.

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