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The Diary of Alicia Keys

676 customer reviews

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The Diary of Alicia Keys + Songs in A Minor + As I Am
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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Alicia Keys has more than lived up to the promise of her formidable debut Songs in A Minor, pushing beyond her flirtation with old-school soul and venturing into the modern world, even hiring Timbaland to guide her through the shoals of anthemic hip-hop on the breathless and funkified "Heartburn." Sounding like a hyperthyroid cheerleader, Keys unleashes a quirky sense of humor that no one even suspected she possessed. Her effortless singing on the beat-driven "Karma" is a wonder of sonics on this uplifting piece of pop philosophy, giving countless anxious woman hope that everything will work out as it's meant to, or on "Samsonite Man," where it won't. But despite her edgy styling and jazzy vocal posturing, Keys hasn't abandoned her love for old R&B and travels back in time, giving Gladys Knight's "If I Was Your Woman" a face lift it may not have needed, then turns around and recasts the song as the winsome and dramatic "You Don't Know My Name." But at its heart, The Diary of Alicia Keys is a gross misnomer. After listening to the disc, fans will know little more about the elusive diva than they did before, her lyrical style consistently more narrative than confessional. In fact, the title track doesn't delve into the singer's inner life, but instead is about a long-distance love affair, with Keys promising the object of her affection that: "I won't tell your secrets/Your secrets are safe with me/I will keep your secrets/Just think of me as the pages in your diary."--Jaan Uhelszki

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (December 2, 2003)
  • Original Release Date: 2003
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: J-Records
  • ASIN: B0000DD7LC
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (676 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,793 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

74 of 81 people found the following review helpful By Busy Body on March 5, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Alicia Keys arrived on the scene back in 2001 with her No.1, multi-platinum debut album "Songs In A Minor." The Grammy award winning album made Alicia a worldwide superstar and a true force to be reckoned with in the music industry. Her debut album was ever so slightly overhyped which then made the follow-up, "The Diary Of Alicia Keys," ever so slightly over-anticipated upon its fall 2003 release. The album went straight to No.1 in its week of release shifting some 610,000 copies. Alicia has staying power, and this proved it.
Since that infamous debut album, Alicia Keys has brought in a unique and shockingly mature dose of talent to the music industry. Amongst her entrance was the arrival of Nelly Furtado and Norah Jones, two equally talented super powers who enjoyed record sales beyond their wildest dreams and a following like no other. Such success, however, can cloud the illusions of those experiencing it, no matter how deserved it is. Alicia Keys could have easily fallen into the trap of an artist who took herself too seriously (the dramatic title of the album suggests this) but, thankfully, there is no need to worry; The Diary Of Alicia Keys is another masterpiece...
On this sophomore effort, Alicia has avoided the frequent trap of crumbling under pressure on how to follow up a stunning debut. She has matured her style slightly with a superb collection of lush and dreamy soul-tinged, R'n'B influenced tracks that highlight and complement her remarkable vocals. Everything about the album is incredibly mature and real. Even the song titles are beautiful, staring off with the intro "Harlem's Nocturne." This piano opening soon breaks out with a soulful beat in a similar vein to the intro on the album's predecessor.
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By SUPPORT THE ASPCA. on January 13, 2008
Format: Audio CD
"The Diary Of Alicia Keys'" puts Beyonce, Shakira, Underwood, & all of todays female artists from every genre of music in the bargain bin. The album starts with the classical song "Harlem's Nocturne." Her Piano playing is superb, then a choir joins in aided by a fine beat. "Karma," is adriven song that uses Alicia's vocals at their best. "Heartburn," has a good drum beat as her raw vocals compare her lust for a man with the title. "If I Was your Woman/Walk On," is a jazzy version of Isaac Hayes-"Walk On by."

"You Don't Know My Name," is a 1970's finesse ballad. It is a refreshing female version of male angst, the spoken interlude in the middle fits perfectly. "If I Ain't Got You," sounds like a mix of gospel & Aretha Franklin. This may have Alicia's best vocals on this album? The brass behind Alicia's Piano added elegance. "Diary," is a fine gentle song. It sounds like it came off of her debut album. This one was my favorite of her Sophmore album.

"When You Really Love Someone," seems like a cross between "A Woman's Worth & Fallin?" I would call it the former part two. "Wake Up & So Simple" are too familiar & the latter has some annoying sounds. "Slow Down," is reminiscent of Janet Jackson's "Lets Wait Awhile." "Nobody Not Really," is lighter & has a less cloudy or dark feel as if the day was just starting. She wonders who will be interested in this her diary? Obviously, several million to date & with good reason. This is a fine album.
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44 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Peace Brotha on July 21, 2004
Format: Audio CD
I like Alicia Keys' music. Some feel that she is overrated. I personally think it may be too early in her career to comment specifically on that, but I do feel that she hasn't fully reached the apex of her creativity. Alicia has more talent and spirit than some of her diva counterparts. We've seen it time and again, but I think there will be much more in the future.

Having said that, this set will do as good exposure to Alicia's talent. "You Don't Know My Name" has to be the most perfect usage of sampling yet for 2004, and is alone worth the price of the CD. The vibe and atmosphere match the lyrics to a tee, and I disagree that the spoken interlude is either corny or too long. This one is a modern day masterpiece...well done, Alicia!

There are other flashes of brilliance throughout the album that let you know that Alicia is a force to be reckoned with. But you always get the feeling that there is too much left in reserve. You always wanna leave your fans wanting more, but maybe not quite this much.

An example of what I'm talking about is the album's closer, "Nobody Not Really." This is the kind of off-the-beaten-path material that I know Alicia is capable of, and so much more...and it so GOOD. But this is one brilliant song compared to what is mostly average R&B material.

I realize that Ms. Keys is more of a mainstream artist on a mainstream label, so she can't get too far out there. But perhaps next time around we can get a better balanced mix of the predictable stuff and the songs that express her own vision. What she sees is beautiful and I'd like to experience more of it.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By TheAntMan on December 2, 2003
Format: Audio CD
The follow-up to 'Songs in A minor' from multi-grammy winner Alicia Keys has been long awaited indeed. The question is, whether it was worth the wait. My answer is an emphatic, "Yes". In "The Diary of Alicia Keys", the songs show a marked increase in maturity yet at the same time heartbreak. The lyrics tell the story of her development throughout the years since her first release. It makes one wonder what she has experienced during this time. Sorrow and disillusionment in both her lyrics and her voice are laid over the R&B beats, embellished with her much improved, now exquisite pianistic skills as illustrated in the solemn and mournful opening 'harlem's nocturne'. The songs are a lot more polished, better produced as she and co-producers weave together the sounds of many instruments, including Keys' trademark classical and jazz/blues piano stylings into an intricate tapestry of musical expression.
While production has been refined, the voice of Keys herself has become rough almost raspy at times. She sings in harsh bitter tones to share with listeners her journey through heartache and disappointment. "Karma", "Dragon Days", "Wake Up", "So Simple", "Samsonite Man" and "Nobody Not Really" emcompass emotions ranging from spite, nostalgia, frustration, disappointment and abandonment. "When You Love Someone" documents the ideals of love while "If I Was Your Woman/Walk On By", "If I Ain't Got You" shows Keys' in a submissive, pleading position as she wails in her sweet siren voice to the man she loves.
This collection of songs shows the immense growth of a strong musician but also reveals who the woman herself is underneath. That's what music is about and this album is pure music.
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