on December 21, 2007
This was new & different from "Songs In A Minor & The Diary Of Alicia Keys." Which is fine, I just do not think that the album in total is equal to the aboves? From slow to midtempo these songs are hard to classify other than their having a 60's-70's R&B sound. But, this album does seem to be her most personal & intimate. Some complain about her overuse of the Piano? I could not disagree more, it is a very neglected instrument. Alicia also plays it exceptionally well.
"Like You'll Never See Me Again, No One, I Need You, Tell You Something, & The Thing About Love," are my five favorites from this album. The latter has an Al Green early 1970's feel to it with an angry middle which most folks at some time in their lives can relate to. While the former may eventually challenge "Fallin" as her best song to date? It has lucid lyrics & a depth of feeling to it that many modern tunes lack. "I Need You has Alicia pulling you into the song & "Tell You Something" is a thoughtful get you to think tune. While "No One" is a sensual speaks for itself song. I'm not big on top forty hits since so many songs that make it are awful. But in this case, "No One" flew to the top for a reason.
I did not care for the Intros. "Prelude To A Kiss," was too short, "Lesson Learned & Sure Looks Good To Me" were pretty good, & the rest of the album was rather good. In closing, I think it is overly harsh to constantly compare her music to what came before as so many of the negative reviews harped on. She is not even thirty, & may have a few more decades to grow as an artist. I would wager that when many of her contemporaries are just a memory, she will still be producing fine music?
Grammy winning singer/songwriter, poet, philanthropist and visionary Alicia Keys proceeds to outdo herself with AS I AM, her third and finest album, to date. This 2007 release showcases her range as a musician. Keys is a classically-trained pianist, as well as being a true soul/r&b artist, and the album kicks off on a beautiful note with her original song "As I Am (Intro)," a classical piece. From there, we hear the influences and inspirations that guide this great musician to combine her poetry and eloquence as a lyricist with her flare for hooks and ear-catching instrumental (with a little help from her friends). Some of the best cuts include "Superwoman," (co-written with Linda Perry and Steve Mostyn), an anthem for strong women everywhere and an ear-catching chorus that will get you singing along, the beautiful, reggae-inspired "No One" (co-written with Kerry Brothers, Jr. and George M. Harry), the first single from the album and "Wreckless Love" (co-written with Matthew Kahane and Harold Lilly) which sounds like a throwback to the Motown soul era of the 1960s.
On another note, Alicia Keys' voice has never sounded better. It's deeper and raspier, but, that only adds flavor to her delivery of the more poignant pieces (particularly, "Tell You Something (Nana's Reprise)"). This young woman has been blessed with many talents and we are lucky and privileged that she is sharing them with the world.
Alicia Keys is an artist I have been keeping a strong eye on since she first appeared in Ebony magazine's "artists to watch" cololm just prior to the release of her debut Songs in A Minor. And I am very glad I kept on track with her because I now have the pleasure to enjoy 'As I Am'. Not only couldn't it be any more different from that first CD but for what is her third studio album there is not only an enormous sense of emotional growth in this material but her musical aspirations have also increased by leaps and bounds. Within these 14 songs Alicia Keys manages to exhibit every positive quality in her music and actually discovered a few new ones. As common with all of her albums she opens with a classically inclined introduction before moving into the song cycle chronicaling the disolving and beginning of a relationship. Many of the songs on this album such as "The Thing About Love" and even the bouncy "Teenage Love Affair",a highlite of the album regardless. Now I am not one to focus on the hits but one of the big highlites here is,yes the hit "No One"-the lyrical challange is met by the equally compulsive drums-in fact one thing that might make this album controversial is the fact the very live drums are mixed up so high.The same thing happens on the title cut and "Go Ahead".And for those of you who confused "Prelude To A Kiss" with the famous standard it's not at all-it's a song of Alicia's own creation. There are many isolated highlites taken outside the concept-"Lessons Learned" actually melds the sounds of Alicia's poppy soul and John Mayer's soulful pop,works like a charm.My personal favorite is "I Need You",with an interesting melodic phrasing and arrangement the really points to a distinctive sound for her. 'As I Am' as a whole finds Alicia Keys in a place,far from the somewhat constraining arms of Columbia Records who steered her in a musical direction that appealed more to the modern,ProTool infected hip-hop/R&B crowd ,where she can develope her own distinctive sound based entirely on the things she does best and her own talents.
on January 31, 2008
Music nowadays is lousy. Plain and simple. However, in the midst of the sub par sounds the radio administers, Alicia Keys, since she made her debut in 2001, has always been respected by music critics and music fanatics alike. After listening to all of her albums in their entirety, there is no wonder why. Every album is filled with good music, Alicia's pleasant voice, and her best friend, the piano. "As I Am" is inundated with piano sounds, which I enjoy. Alicia is a master pianist, and I respect her for that. Also worth noting is the fact that her voice has grown a great deal since she debuted. I enjoy her voice now more than ever. Her vocal control is impressive. Sometimes she sings a bit too high or a bit too low, but most of the time, she knows what she's doing. "As I Am" has mostly upbeat tracks. Alicia definitely tried to be innovative with this album and the finished product is very enjoyable.
The first song released to radio was "No One." This song had to grow on most of the people I talked to; it also had to grow on me. Once you get into the groove she is trying to administer, you'll find yourself bobbing your head and singing the verse and hook. She took a different approach here; this song is heavy on the bass, she uses a different piano, and is very experimental with her voice. "Like You'll Never See Me Again" was released after "No One." This song is a ballad and a very good one at that. The lyrics here are very profound; when you're around the one you love, show them affection as if it is the last time you will ever see them. Powerful and thought-provoking. "Wreckless Love", "The Thing About Love", and "Superwoman" are all decent offerings. "Tell You Something" and "Sure Looks Good to Me" are highlights. Lyrically, they shine. Alicia's lyrics are never too creative or poetic, but she does have a way with words. She knows how to convey her point and her singing voice has a good amount of personality, which helps her to convey her points more accurately.
This is easily one of the most memorable albums from 2007, which was overall not a good year in music. Honestly, if you don't have "Songs in A Minor", "The Diary of Alicia Keys", or "Unplugged", you need to add them all to your collection. Then, move forward and purchase her fourth album, for you will be taking her "as she is."
Mikeisha's Top 5
1. "As I Am (Intro)"
2. "Go Ahead"
3. "Tell You Something (Nana's Reprise)"
4. "Teenage Love Affair"
5. "Sure Looks Good to Me"
on December 23, 2007
Initially I was a little "worried" when I read Alicia's new album was to feature writing collaborations with Linda Perry and John Mayer. Both are a little too Vanilla for my tastes.
Weeks later...I'm happy to announce that I've played this album AT LEAST twice a day since purchasing it. Sure, it's far more GLOSSY than the two previous studio albums (the hip-hop and early 70s soul influences have been politely airbrushed)...but as a big fat POP record As I Am is a gem. Of the albums 14 tracks, AT LEAST 11 of them are pretty damn fantastic. How many albums released in 2007 can you say that about?
on November 28, 2007
I'm an Alicia Keys fan who was a little hesitant about getting this album because of my own lackluster reaction to the lead single, NO ONE (which I initially heard in August). I didn't like the song until I actually saw her perform it live a few times and agree with a previous poster that sometimes her live interpretations of her songs give them new life & meaning and that was certainly the case (for me at least) with this song. I like the simplicity of it, the melody and the arrangement but don't necessarily care for her straining vocals - I'm not a singer at all but fear that the way she sings may be causing damage to her vocal chords.
The thing that I love about Alicia is that right now she is the only r&b female who pays homage to eras in music that intrigued HER by mixing that influence with music of today. It hurt to read previous reviews calling her a "talentless hack" and a "bore" because she is one of the few who I see trying to balance her pushing the envelope of her artistry against fan expectations.
I've listened to the entire album a few times since its release and although I didn't initially LOVE it like I did DIARY, AS I AM has a few strong singles that should make it as successful (sales wise) as DIARY.
My favorite tracks are:
LIKE YOU'LL NEVER SEE ME AGAIN - I love the passion & soul of this track coupled with a sly nod to one of her heroes, Prince with the PURPLE RAIN melody. I also love the video!
INTRO - once again another classically "flipped" instrumental - I wish it were longer
NO ONE - grows on me the more I hear it
TEENAGED LOVE AFFAIR - I like the urgency with which she sings on this track - it makes me feel the way I did when I had a teenaged crush
SURE LOOKS GOOD TO ME - love the thematic build-up of this song, it's a really ambitious track in the way that STOLEN MOMENTS from her Unplugged album was
LESSON LEARNED - her vocals sound great on this track and I like the fact that John Mayer really doesn't overshadow her performance
WRECKLESS LOVE - I love the doo-wop production of this track, it sounds old school without totally copying from that era
SUPERWOMAN & WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE - both feature excellent musical production
Overall I'd recommend this to fans because it is another step in progression of Alicia as an artist - she took some risks that paid off in memorable tracks and some that fell a little flat but the point is that she is trying different things to appeal to her fans and I appreciate the effort. Is this album better than DIARY? - not in my opinion but does it contain enough strong songs for me to recommend it to friends? - Yes, definitely.
on November 12, 2007
"As I am", Alicia Keys third studio release, opens with the title track, a brief overture set to hip hop beats reminding us what a piano virtuoso she is.
With that, she welcomes us to her new album. The mood is more downbeat and retro than its predecessors. I have to admit, it took repeated listening to get into.
Lead off single "No one" is a sparse piano sprinkled song set to a gently thumping beat, a raw yearning vocal delivery, and an oh so faint reggae touch.
The piano/organ driven "Superwoman" is pure sixties/seventies soul, with lyrics extolling women in various roles and lovely harmonies. "Wreckless love" sounds like something Lauryn Hill would do (with its sideline chatter/singing) and it has a beautiful, soaring chorus. "Lesson learned" features John Mayer.
"I need you" features clunky, upbeat percussion, and sounds different from everything else here. Beautiful! Also upbeat are "Teenage love affair" and "Where do we go from here", the latter starting with a scratchy Billie Holiday-like sample.
"Like you'll never see me again" (faintly reminiscent of "If I ain't got you") finds her singing in a Mariah Carey breathy falsetto, "Prelude to a kiss" is a brief piano ballad, while the organ/guitar driven closing track "Sure looks good to me" has a light rock feel (probably from her hanging out with the likes of Bono and Adam Levine). Similar is the ballad "The thing about love" which builds to a rocky crescendo. Both were co-written with Linda Perry.
There you have it, vintage Alicia Keys with deft touches adding variety to the sound.
on December 26, 2007
By modern, I mean you can't compare the majority of bland, vapid R&B / Soul / Pop with the classics from the 60's and 70's served up by Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Al Green et al, so giving 'As I Am' 5 stars is not trying to put it up with the ilk of 'Songs In The Key Of Life', but as far as anything else in this genre at present, it is a country mile ahead of the nearest contender, I'm more of an independent music fan, Cat Power, Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, Sufjan Stevens, etc, but ever since 'Fallin' I have bought all of Alicia Keys albums, I find her one of the only original and interesting musicians in the mainstream of American music. I reckon her voice is stronger on this album than on her previous records, and I find I'm relishing the prospect of future albums if this is an indicator of how she is maturing, as the Amazon review above states, I'm sure she will very soon take her place with the legends of the genre, I've been listening to this album over and over since I've got it, and it just gets better, best thing I've heard in 2007? Up there with 'We Were Dead Before The Ship Sank' by Modest Mouse and "In Rainbows' by Radiohead, do yourself a favour and buy this album!
on January 23, 2008
I'd like to stress, somewhat hypocritically, the necessity of taking reviews with a grain of salt. As I Am might be Alicia Keys' most controversial album. The reception has been totally mixed, with some bemoaning what they consider an uninspired album - the product of a creative downturn - and others praising this as a refreshingly mature, unequaled effort from Miss Keys. I side with the latter. In my opinion, this has got to be one of the best albums of the decade and beyond. Thank God for Alicia Keys; she is one of the few truly bright lights in an era of less-than-listenable material. I can't remember the last time I was so pleased by an album - one that, from start to finish, never loses momentum. This record is highly introspective but remains attainable without relying on incessant cliches. While Alicia's influences clearly lie in the past, she has crafted an album that is entirely modern and unlike anything on the airwaves now. As I Am is a fusion of soul, R&B, funk, pop, and rock that holds together remarkably well as Keys' first truly great album. The lack of Rap and Hip-Hop is a surprisingly welcome change; after all, if hip-hop does not experience a rebirth - and fast - then it will soon have overstayed its welcome.
The Best Tracks:
Wreckless Love - old school funk/soul with an irresistible hook
Like You'll Never See Me Again - an instant classic; the soul is in the lyrics
No One - features some of Alicia's best-ever vocals and a relaxed vibe
I Need You - has an organic, live band feel and very catchy lyrics
Tell You Something - the rare uplifting, feel-good ballad that avoids the typical greeting card sentiments
Based on some reviews, I was reluctant to buy this album. I was completely wrong; this was a very pleasant surprise.
on November 18, 2007
wait a minute? are these reviews for real? are they listening to they same product or are they mistaken...they must have, because this is alicia at her very best. it's a new day people, music has evolved so much since she first came out, and she certainly is keeping up with the high need for fresh new sounds. i was totally and incredibly surprised by this album, not being a strong fan of her previous albums, they were cool but i was a lot younger then to understand her soulful feel, but there was a handful of songs i absolutely loved of hers. however this album...this album is phenomenal, astonished to think that she has created such a sound that is practically a cure to the ears compared to some of the hoop-lah i've been hearing lately.
so, what songs stand out and make the album the phenom that it is??
1. where do we go from here
2. i need you
3. go ahead
4. tell you something
5. lessong learned
6. wreckless love
7. teenage love affair
8. sure looks good to me
in order these are the best of the best for me, but thats just my taste based on my own preferences, i've seen many different opinions, because obviously everyone hears things differently and hav their personal tastes. i cannot find words to describe the first few songs on the list because they are just.......wooow!
music has taken a new leap and i think rnb/soul has really stepped up this year, with albums from lloyd, tank, chris brown, chrisette michele, jill scott, mario, keyshia cole, j holiday, lil mo, kelly rowland, trey songz and of course our very ms. keys!
i am very well more than satisfied with this purchase, emphasise on the world "purchase" people, that could very well be the reason you may not like the album, if you had the same production and sound quality of the final product - you will be hearing something different as opposed to just downloading it for 'free'. sorry but that is the definate truth!