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74 of 81 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unbelievable And Undeniable Talent
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...
Published on March 5, 2004 by Busy Body

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44 of 49 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good snapshot of today's R&B
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...
Published on July 21, 2004 by Peace Brotha


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74 of 81 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unbelievable And Undeniable Talent, March 5, 2004
By 
Busy Body (London, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Diary of Alicia Keys (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. This swiftly moves into "Karma," a superbly beat-driven song that uses Alicia's vocals to the optimum. "Heartburn" has a fantastic drum beat and strumming guitars with a sizzling beat and brilliant production. It's a new style for Alicia, and it works well. Some may dislike it, but you gotta give the girl props for being creative. "If I Was Your Woman/Walk On By" is a superb cover version which has been altered to suit Alicia's vocal range and musical style. This is swiftly followed by "You Don't Know My Name," the album's lead single. Obviously Alicia couldn't compete with her debut single "Fallin'" on her comeback single, so what does she do? She releases a six-minute, future-classic love ballad masterpiece with spine-tingling piano trickles and a full-on telephone section, remeniscent of Stevie Wonder's "I Just Called To Say I Love You!"
"If I Ain't Got You" displays Alicia's superb vocals perhaps better than on any other track. Alicia really sells the song and this is the second single. Meanwhile, the gorgeously-melodic "Diary (Featuring Tony! Toni! Tone!)" is a definite album highlight. The gentle piano creeps in here and drops to offer superb lyrics; "Just think of me as the pages in your diary." "Dragon Days" is one of the album's highlights. Alicia sings of the dragon days when the fire was hot, like a desert needing water, baby! Her soulful voice totally complements the song's mature mood. "Wake Up" is yet another highlight with Alicia displaying her vocals once more in an up-tempo track about relationship troubles. Done a million times before, but still sounds fresh by Alicia. "So Simple" is one of my favourite songs on the album, but a lot of people can't stand it because of the little squeaky voice in the background of Lellow chanting, "It could be so simple!" The song has a rather isolated mood to it, but this only serves as the genius behind it.
"When You Really Love Someone" is an up-tempo song with a moody and confused intro that highlights the realism of a relationship and what each partner must do to love one another. "Cause a man just ain't a man if he ain't man enough," cries Alicia, sounding similar to how she did on "A Woman's Worth." "Feeling U, Feeling Me (Interlude)" is a superb section that breaks the album up slightly. The beat just relaxes the hell out of you whilst also managing to make you feel so sexy with its seductive mood as Alicia whispers her (short) lines. "Slow Down" is not one of the best tracks on the album and Alicia could've been forgiven for leaving it off the album. Luckily things pick up with the sparkling "Samsonite Man." What a beautiful song title! And Alicia's not wrong as she sings "Packing his bags, gotta go, gotta go, packing his bags, gotta go," to a shimmering beat that raises the mood. "Nobody Not Really" is a DAMN fine song that is just way too short. It only just makes the third minute but should've been at least one longer. The song opens in a flurry of excitement with its piano as a saxophone breaks it down whilst Alicia sighs in the background. The way her vocals are drawn out through the verses is just really superb and is a perfect closer to a brilliant sophomore effort.
OVERALL GRADE: 10/10
I bought Songs In A Minor after the hyped had died down somewhat - a whole year after its release. I really enjoyed that album and it's certain that the public did too. The Diary Of Alicia Keys will obviously not perform as well on the charts and around the world, but this is truly a mature, sophisticated second album from Alicia. It has future-classic written all over it. An album that will be in the homes of millions of soulful fans around the world, and her third album is just going to continue this trend.
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Her Diary = A Fine Chameleon., January 13, 2008
This review is from: The Diary of Alicia Keys (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
3.0 out of 5 stars Good snapshot of today's R&B, July 21, 2004
By 
Peace Brotha (Ohio, United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Diary of Alicia Keys (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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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "Simple"... but it works (3.5 Stars), February 28, 2004
This review is from: The Diary of Alicia Keys (Audio CD)
When Alicia Keys first came out, certain people were quick to call her "the best" while others felt she was a tad "overhyped." I for one agree with both sides; I do agree that she has some talent but to dub her "the best" would be a complete overstatement of exaggeration. But after 10 Million records sold, successful national concerts, and Grammy fame, someone is bound to change. Evidently, this time around Alicia Keys changes her style music-wise, and comes back with her sophomore effort, "The Diary of Alicia Keys." Out are the made-for-the-r&b/pop radio songs that made her famous on her debut, "Song in A Minor". In are old school r&b/soul that ranges from slow ballads to faster, upbeat funk.
"Diary", a nice mid-tempo track featuring Tony Toni Toné is smooth like velvet and flows like water, benefiting from the hauntingly beautiful piano. The piano in "If I Was Your Woman/Walk On By" works very nicely with the hook. The Timbaland produced, `James Brown'-esque "Heartburn" recalls a reminiscent funk (you can almost picture Pam Grier dropkicking somebody's ass with this song playing in the background). "Dragon Days" has an addictive rhythm to it while "You Don't Know My Name" has a guilty-pleasure old-school vibe to it. "Samsonite Man" & "Karma" also have appealing beats.
Although the production on the album is good, where the album mainly falters is the lyrics: whether the whole song or a few lines, they're relatively simplistic. Another major thing that affects the album's quality is when she finds the need to recycle her old ideas attempting to make them new, showing a sense of laziness. "Wake Up" has the same "ah ooh" vocals in the background as "Loving' You" (a bonus track on her first album). "Slow Down", although very appealing, sounds like an updated version of "Troubles". "When You Really Love Someone" is the definition of "filler": the beat is extremely similar, maybe even identical to "Fallin" while the lyrics sound like they came from some cheesy wedding vow. "You Don't Know My Name" includes the redundant use of the word "baby", sounding like a certain artist I love to hate. "If I Was Your Woman/Walk On By" has the line, "if I was your woman, and you were my man, you would have no other woman, you'd be weak as a lamb"... the word "huh?" comes to mind.
But even with all this said, this album is still pretty good. By the way, I could've sworn the album was supposed to include the song "Streets of New York" featuring Nas & Rakim, the remix of Nas' "N.Y. State of Mind". It apparently isn't included... But fortunately, the old-school-r&b/soul flow of the album covers up those tiny flaws. I still wouldn't categorize myself to be a fan, but had Alicia Keys released this album as her debut, I wouldn't have been so negative towards her as an artist.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous!, December 25, 2003
By 
I am completely stunned by this cd! I really enjoyed Ms. Alicia Keys' first album, but i am so overwhelmed at her outdoing herself on "The Diary..." that i find myself putting this album on repeat 24/7 for the past few weeks. This cd definitely has a more retro-60's-soul-style in it. You can hear the influences of the past and it is much more gorgeous than any album i've heard lately. My favorite tracks here are everything, 1 through 15. Especially "if i was your woman," "you don't know my name", "if i ain't got you", "diary", and all the rest of them. I won't list them all. Go out and cop this album, NOW!!!!!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Matured & More Poignant, December 2, 2003
This review is from: The Diary of Alicia Keys (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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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars good, not great, December 13, 2003
By 
This review is from: The Diary of Alicia Keys (Audio CD)
I'm a staunch believer that growth is the measure of an artist. I was totally behind Alicia Keys on the first album because it was something fresh on the scene. Hell, I was loudly touting the first album when I first got it. Keys is supremely talented but I couldn't help but find Diary a bit of a letdown. Some tracks sounded like reprises from Songs in A Minor ("When You Really Love Someone" comes to mind most strongly) and she seems to have carried Songs's pained-love-from-afar theme over to Diary. Which, admittedly, isn't a terrible thing; it's hard to stay away from love as a theme in general, but sometimes one feels the need to expand beyond certain horizons. She takes some artistic leaps and some of it works--I love the drum-driven feel of "Heartburn" and the strings on "Karma" are just phenomenal to hear--but still the album feels lacking on the whole. It's disappointing that Diary isn't quite as polished as I'd expected it to be, considering Keys is such an impassioned, enthusiastic and incredibly talented artist. It's just that it feels as though she held back to stay on the marketable side, which is always a letdown, but it's especially disappointing coming from such a gifted artist.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic R&B, January 1, 2004
By A Customer
The Diary of Alicia Keys is VINTAGE R&B. This CD is definitely better than her first. But this production is more mature.
Unfortunately, some think that R&B is what most of her contemporaries are doing. But it isn't. It's more pop/hip-hop. And that's okay, I have many of those CDs. But Alicia's CD is true rhythm & blues with a hint of jazz. It's what R&B used to sound like when I was growing up, and I'm 29. Her CD is current, but with a classic vibe.
If you want to listen and LEARN about the kind of music the real R&B Kings and Queens used to make, then I would start by buying The Diary of Alicia Keys. She's the closest thing without having to pull out the old vinyl. Particularly, if you're younger and can't groove with the older stuff, or just haven't had much exposure to R&B, then definitely give her new CD a try.
Warning: If you're hoping for Beyonce or Ashanti, which I happen to like, then you will be disappointed. So, I would keep an open mind and not let recent music trends influence your opinion. Alicia has a lot of talent. If you listen closely, you'll find it.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A master piece, January 7, 2004
By 
Bre (A little university in Illinois) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Diary of Alicia Keys (Audio CD)
I gotta say I am disappointed in some of these reviews attacking Alicia's "attitude" and lack of talent. Its kinda ridiculous, especially if you really listened to this album. This Cd is soooo good. Its great actually. This album is soulful, sexy, intense, real, unique... Need I say more? The lyrics are so emotional and deep. I love how she takes you through a journey from the 1960s to now with out skipping a beat. She is definitely a talented young lady. She bridges the gap between old soul and new soul allowing our generation to really appreciate older music from that era.
My favorite tracks are Karma, Heartburn- So funky and different,please keep a open mind with this song, you will love it. Ofcourse You dont know my name, If I aint got you- I love this song so much, its a beautiful ballad, the emotion of her voice is intoxicating. Diary is really nice laid back song feat Tony Toni Tone, Dragon Days is a sexy sensual song about missing someone, one of my favorites. Wake up is a song that sounds like a straight thowback song of the sixties- very soulful. When you really love someone is like A Womans Worth part 2, yet fresh and nice- I love it. I even love the interlude- Feeling me feeling you- reaaly nice. Slow down sounds more of a radio r&B song but has a great message and still is a great song.
This is a Cd that you sit in the tub with some scented candles and just groove to or listen to while you driving- either way, Its a really good CD. I definitely recommend this to anyone!!!1
For those who dont like the album, please listen to it a few times more... dont give up on this album. I guarentee you will fall in love with it too, if not then its obvious you dont know music and definitely lacking soul in your life!!!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Do not hesitate to take a peek into this diary!, January 24, 2004
By A Customer
Two years ago, it was Alicia Keys madness here in the United States of America. She won tons of Grammys, "Fallin'", the first single off Ms. Key's debut album, "Songs In A Minor" was being played every twenty minutes on the radio, etc., etc. Clearly, everyone and his grandmother thought that Alicia Keys was the best thing since sliced bread. I attempted to join this craze. For Easter 2002, I recieved "Songs In A Minor". Being eleven at the time, the whole album went way over my head. I remember enjoying "Girlfriend" and "Jane Doe", the faster and poppier songs of the bunch, but pretty much slept through the rest. Anyway, when Alicia released "Diary", I was determined not to get sucked into the hype. However, one day after seeing Alicia on some morning talk show, my mother asked why I hadn't asked for this album for Christmas. I figured, "What the heck?", and told her I'd love to have it. Anyway, I started listening to "Songs In A Minor" again in mid December. Being thirteen now, I enjoyed it a little more. But as I started listening to it more and more, I realized that it is actually a great album. Two years ago, my collection was full of that Britney and N'Sync crap, but now it is full of people like Beyonce, Mya, and Mary J. Blige, Ginuwine, and Outkast so my tastes in music had changed greatly. I prepared myself for an excellent album...
and was crushed. I hated "The Diary of Alicia Keys". However, unlike with Songs In A Minor I did not give up. Two days ago, I popped this CD in my player and loved it. The beats are terrific, the lyrics poetic, and Alicia's voice is better than ever. I love Alicia Keys, but I just need some time to get used to her CDs. The same thing will probably happen with her third effort. Many males here have said that this album is to emotional for them and that only women will enjoy it. Well guess what? I'm a teenage guy and I love this CD. My favorite songs are "Karma", "If I was your woman/Walk on By", "You don't know my name", and "If I ain't got you". I enjoy the second half as well. All in all, Ms. Keys is one of the most talented musicians of our generation. Please do not pass up the oppurtunity to enjoy one of the most sexy, mature, soulful discs ever!
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The Diary of Alicia Keys
The Diary of Alicia Keys by Alicia Keys (Audio CD - 2003)
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