38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Soul Is Reborn! Still Her Best, & Better Than All The Rest.
Alica Keys' is the sexy Aquarian that won five Grammy's for this her debut album for a reason, she is that good! Take a piece of Roberta Flack, Al Green, & Stevie Wonder pour into a twenty first century Motown gal & you'll have Alicia Keys'. Rich soulful vocals, warm melodies & catchy lyrics that make this album a winner. Since she is classically trained it is clear...
Published on January 10, 2008 by SUPPORT THE ASPCA.
65 of 79 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars OK faux-ghetto 70s soul recycled for ears raised on hip-hop
You must all know how hard it is for me to write this. I am 31 and I am not at all happy with the popular music scene today (not that there is a real "scene"). With all the hype surrounding this album, and from what little I had heard from it, I was dead set against listening to it--let alone liking it. The other thing you must know is that my favorite singer/songwriter...
Published on April 1, 2002 by C. Heinrich
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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Soul Is Reborn! Still Her Best, & Better Than All The Rest.,
Alica Keys' is the sexy Aquarian that won five Grammy's for this her debut album for a reason, she is that good! Take a piece of Roberta Flack, Al Green, & Stevie Wonder pour into a twenty first century Motown gal & you'll have Alicia Keys'. Rich soulful vocals, warm melodies & catchy lyrics that make this album a winner. Since she is classically trained it is clear after only one listening that her timing is perfect.
There are sixteen tracks including two remakes, "Someday We'll Be Free & Prince's How Come You Don't Call Me." These two were fine but I like her tunes far more. They range from slow, midtempo, to fast. "Fallin," is hands down the best song on the album & for me the best ballad since the Rolling Stones "Almost Here You Cry" from 1989's "Steel Wheels" album. "Fallin" should have been the number one song of 2001, not Christina Aguilera's screaming tune. "Fallin" has an Acapella intro & the violin of Miri Ben Ari that comes in with a smooth feeling. "A Womans Worth," has a satiny flow of lyrics as she tells her guy about her fine qualities & how she deserves to be treated. Then how she will reciprocate because he is worth it. "Butterflz," a fine tune with a jazzy piano & flowing lyrics. "Never Felt This Way," has classic piano sounds & lyrics describing a first love.
Other good tunes are "The Life," its catchy lyrics & an alluring melody give it a sensual 1960's soulful vibe. "Rock Wit You," is a funky song with a rich vocal delivery. "Girlfriend," has a rocking instrumental intro that was a pleasant surprise. With this album you will never have to hit the skip button. I love Alicia Keys' unique approach & the way she can immerse herself into the songs, whether they are her own or remakes. Lastly, she is the best new artist since the Police's first album came out in the late 1970's.
103 of 116 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "...A Minor" is Major,
As a professional musician/composer/arranger, I was a bit skeptical of this CD. I had first heard Alicia Keys on the Oprah Show and immediately saw some genius. I was skeptical because she appeared to be pretty young and most up and coming artists have "one-hit wonder" potential. Alica Keys is the real thing. When I rate a CD, I base my score on how many cuts appeal to me. If I have to fast forward a couple of times, I give it a 4. This CD receives a 5 based on my never touching the skip button. You should listen at least three times before judging this one--I have found outstanding CD's are usually those that require plenty of listening before you realize it's great. Many musical styles are on this CD of which my favorite cuts include the Latin "Mr. Man" which is very addictive. "Fallin" is receiving plenty of air play and will probably wear thin on me but the remainder of the CD is well worth the asking price. "Caged Bird" is a really well written ballad which all should enjoy. Play "Piano and I" softly if kids are home. If you purchase this CD, you will be writing a 5-star review as I have! Great purchase.
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth the Wait,
I have been waiting for Alicia Keys to release an album now since the Men in Black soundtrack came out. With the release of "Songs in A Minor", I can see that all that time spent waiting was definitely worth it. While all of the songs are beautifully crafted, standout tracks are the first single "Fallin'", "The Life" Caged Bird" "Rock Wit U" and a cover of Prince's b side "how Come You Don't Call Me." Alicia has a style all her own, and it truly sets her apart from all the other current R&B divas. It will also keep her from being just a one hit wonder or a flavor of the month. Classically trained, her piano playing and her touching lyrics can ignite. Hers is a talent which is very rare these days in our younger performers. She will have a career that stands the test of time like superstar rock diva Tina Turner, or Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin. All of her talents, coupled with the fact that she is beautiful to boot, will help to make Alicia Keys the star she is destined to be. A young woman that writes her own music, thinks for herself, is well spoken and gorgeous...THAT my friends, is the very definition of 'Bootylicious!'
29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's good....but it was hyped way too much,
By A Customer
When I got this cd I was expecting this flawless and perfect, produced thing. Everyone was praising this cd so much for its genious and i expected the whole thing to be like "Fallin'" which it ain't. Yes Alicia Keys is a very talented young lady and her piano skills are incredible. However her lyrics are all about love and seem pretty simple and straight foward. SOme of the lyrics sound awkward and the songs kind of sound the same after a while. I could say the whole cd sounds like the song "Goodbye" or "A Woman's Worth" if I wanted to. But before you hit the THis Did Not Help Me Button, yes, she does have some highlights like "Mr Man" with Jimmy Cozier, which is my favorite. It is one of those fun songs. Both of their vocals are just awesome. "GIrlfriend" is one of the few upbeat, synthesized tracks on this album. It is alrite, kind of simple lyrics. "Never Felt This Way" is just exceptional, this should have been a whole song not just and interlude. "Caged Bird" is very heartfelt and I guess I'm biased because I also like Maya Angelou. I also love "How Come You Don't Call Me Anymore" because of the emotion she puts into it. You can feel her pain and confusion. My favorite song though is the last hidden track, "Lovin You"...very fun. Her piano playing on "Goodbye", "Troubles", and "Butterflyz" is wonderful, but the song itself is slow and can be boring after a while to be honest. If you really like "A Women's Worth", which the whole cd sounds like, then by all means get this CD. However if you just dig "Fallin" then listen to the album before you buy it and decide for yourself. This is "raw" soul and r n b, not your regular polished Destiny's Child or Brandy.
31 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars KEY OF LIFE,
I'm having a vision. Something is definitely happening. I've been praying ever since I started tuning out the radio. When the radio started letting me down with bootylicious, Cristal sipping, materialism. I kept praying and praying. I knew there was hope because Jill Scott came along, then Erykah came back out. We heard a single from Eric Benet, one from Maxwell...but I knew there would be more...and prayers again have been answered because when Nikka Costa dropped a heavy load of hot funk, I knew a rhythm and blues princess wasn't far behind. Alicia Keys dropped the purely beautiful, yet too short single "Fallin'" and I thanked the musical Heavens! On Songs in A Minor, Alicia gives us beautiful melodies and lyrics especially on the second half of the album. I've heard many pump her up as this generations female Stevie, and even though her piano skills do evoke the spirit of many Stevie's haunted, gorgeous tracks, Alicia Keys just knows who and what real music is. She's brave to be 20 and come out with such a mature debut, while most her counterparts are trying to sell albums by shaking their bon-bons and singing about the same old played-out situations...Miss Keys sings about love: the finding, the losing, and the unexplainable feelings. And even though at a time or two, this album seems to fall short of its hype, its far better than over half the silly sounds blaring out of the radio..Alicia's got incredible soul and she knows how to instrument it.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 4 1/2 If I May...,
Alicia Keys. What's there to say about this bright and coming star? She's a talented young artist with a debut praise worthy of the highest order, but is she really destined to be the next Stevie Wonder? She's an impressive new artist, I give her that, who is climbing up the charts, but can she really flourish and grow to become a legend? I'm not so sure about that. I think the critics have overhyped Alicia too much just because she plays an instrument; the end result being the cause of many bad reviews by superficial listeners. They were expecting too much, I think, from this album. Her vocal ability is a tad strained as she struggles to reach those higher notes, and her finesse at the piano is somewhat drowned by the heavy hip-hop beats. But despite these minor flaws, (which I believe she will fix through time) she'll probably recieve a Grammy or two for her efforts. And I hope she does. Craig David, Alicia Keys, and Sade have given me new hope to the refacing of R&B. This is soul with real power. It's plain and simple, really. I enjoyed this album thoroughly. One thing I like most of all is that it provides the listener with many different flavors. Her influence of jazz and blues are especially evident in songs like Rock Wit U and the bonus track. And though the continuous vibe of this album is mostly uptempo, Butterflyz and Caged Bird slow things down to make the overall mood just perfect for candlelight dinners, per say. Classical is also in her veins as it opens up with a modern-tripped Beethoven on Piano & I. It then goes into the apparent second single, Girlfriend. Fallin' of course is one of the highlights, but my favorite would have to be her duet with Jimmy Cozier on Mr. Mann.
Honestly, there's little wrong with Songs In A Minor. It looks to be a promising start, and I expect to hear even better things come from Ms. Alicia Keys as she evolves with age and experience.
65 of 79 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars OK faux-ghetto 70s soul recycled for ears raised on hip-hop,
You must all know how hard it is for me to write this. I am 31 and I am not at all happy with the popular music scene today (not that there is a real "scene"). With all the hype surrounding this album, and from what little I had heard from it, I was dead set against listening to it--let alone liking it. The other thing you must know is that my favorite singer/songwriter is Laura Nyro, who could pound a piano and sing her guts out more than anyone in popular music history (this side of Aretha Franklin, that is, but you can't really compare anyone with Aretha). So I figured why should I even bother, because no one can touch Laura Nyro (or Aretha). But I gave in and finally gave this a try.
But to my surprise--and here's the hard part--this isn't bad! It didn't make me a fan of hip-hop or modern R&B (though it made me a bit more tolerant of it). But in light of the current standards in pop music today, it is impressive. But, honestly, I can't imagine why anyone with a background in real soul and R&B would need this (sorry, but "real" means those introduced prior to the 1980s). It's nothing special, but I can see why young folks like it. It takes some of the elements that made 70s soul distinctive and sets them to an (annoying) synthesized drum beat--and therein lies the album's biggest downfall. The other thing that sinks the album is the typical "uh, uh" grunting and the unnecessary (and pretentious) "street" talk thrown in seemingly without reason other than to appeal to young listeners (who are certainly the targeted audience). Her vocal range is limited, with her high notes too strained--but this isn't an issue with me because I understand soul music, and it's not about perfection.
Another quibble is the liner notes. Again, she gets all ghetto in her thank you's ("be" is always spelled "B"). Plus, the liner notes point out more than once that "all songs written and arranged by Alicia Keys", though only 6 of the 15 tracks were credited exclusively to her as the songwriter (did it really take three people to write "Rock Wit You"???).
As for the tracks, the faux ghetto talk on the opening track is not a good start. "Rock Wit You" is a decent track, but that's only because Isaac Hayes recycled his 70s sound (e.g. "Shaft"). Like that track, "The Life" is about as 70s as you can get today, with the drum beat more in the background, which makes it more listenable. The minor chords on "Butterflyz" makes it immediately sorrowful and appealing, and is easily the best track on the album (and it seems free of drum programming and electronics, which is a huge plus). "Never Felt This Way" and "Caged Bird" are nice, with their spare piano and vocal arrangements. "Lovin U" is very Jackson-5-esque. "Fallin'" is okay, and unlike most people on here, I was fairly new to the song because I don't listen to the radio. All the other tracks are too over-produced. The album gets better as it goes along, which is unusual.
The whole album would benefit greatly from a percussionist. That alone would earn this an extra star in my book. I swear, I'll never understand the appeal of synethisized drum beats. It truly boggles my mind why it has become the norm today!
Also, I saw her perform on TV, and she certainly knows her way around the piano. This album definitely does not reflect that. She needs to get a drummer, throw out the forced street talk, and just rip it up with a band in the studio. Once she grows into herself, she might prove to be very interesting.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW!!! This is incredible!,
I have to admit, I've been highly anticipating the debut of Alicia Keys ever since I read several articles about her talent and observered her spot on the wish list of several of my favorite reviewers. Well, this cd is stunning! I am absolutely amazed at Keys's maturity and talent featured on this collection. Her harmonies and range send chills down my spine. It is very clear why Ms. Keys was the first artist on Mr. Clive Davis's new label, J records: She is incredible. It is hard to believe that this is only her debut and that she herself is only 19 years old. I especially appreciate the way she writes and helps produce nearly every song on this cd, she does a fantastic job!! Being a pianist myself, I love the presence of her playing on each track. Each track is so different from each other, but each is of such high caliber. The emotion and sincerity in her voice is almost tangible. I really enjoy the tracks "Fallin'"(her voice at its free-flowing best), "Rock wit you"(great production!!), and "goodbye"(so heart-wrenching and easy to relate to. I'm sure many others have been in this position), but based on the quality of this cd, I am sure that my favorites will fluctuate frequently. PLEASE! get this cd! It is SO worth it!
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Heavy Hitter,
When first hearing, "Fallin", I knew this artist had talent. But after finding out that she had studied piano for 7 years, I knew that she had true talent. "songs in A minor" is a must have. These days it is hard to find an artist who writes, produces, sings and even plays an instrument on their debut album. The entire album is pure listening enjoyment. Her piano skills alone would catch anyone's attention who enjoys classical piano but then to add her melodic, soulful voice enhances the album by far. I found that the intro, "Piano & I" was truly amazing. The archaic tones of original classical music flipped into a new school beat was brilliant. Track 2 entitled, "Girlfriend" will have your head bobbin' and your feet tappin'. Not only can you feel the groove with "Girlfriend", you can also relate to what she is saying. Track 11 entitled, "Mr. Man" feat. Jimmy Cozier provides a 20th century blues feel. My favorite tracks which are tracks 12, "Never Felt This Way"(which happens to be an interlude) and track 13, "Butterflyz" are not only well written but performed beautifully. In these songs, her voice reflects tones of Mariah Carey and Tina Marie. If you enjoy either of these artists, you will definitely enjoy, "Never Felt This Way." This album not only reflects her writing skills but the skills of well known artists/producers such as Jermaine Dupri, Kandi Burruss and Brian McKnight just to name a few. Overall, this album is a classic. This girl has real talent, she's not one of these bubble gum artists who made it because of her looks. It may have taken her a couple of years to cop a deal from a major label, but she made it because she displays not only vocal abilities but instrumental abilities as well. If you like the original R&B music of the 80's and 90's with a twist of new age hip hop, you definitely need to get, "songs in A minor."
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST HAVE CD!,
When I saw the video for "Fallin," I was in my dorm room packing my stuff for summer break. Everything IMMEDIATELY came to a halt when I looked up at the TV! I was like, "Who is that?" "She's got some pipes on her!" And the video itself was captivating and enthralling, not just because she's so stunningly beautiful, but because there was INTENSE PASSION coming from every part of her. I could instantaneously tell she was going to be one of those musicians who has longevity in the music industry. Her voice radiates raw, unadulterated talent! She's feisty, charismatic, sincere and soulful.
My favorite songs on this album are "Fallin," "Roc Wit' U," "A Woman's Worth," "Girlfriend," "Jane Doe," & "Mr. Man". Every song is smooth, clearly thought out, and delivered flawlessly. Alicia indubitably has an "old soul" and she's mature beyond her years. Her style is graceful and tasteful, unlike some of the other young female artists in her age group.She knows how to please her listeners, so if you want something that soothes you and makes you reflect at the same time, then this is the album for you! A job well done indeed!
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