Keys’ album hits all the right notes

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By Anna Post, Editor

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There have been numerous politically charged albums about social injustice and inequality on iTunes lately. But Alicia Keys’ latest album, “Here,” stands out from them all.

After four years of agonizing silence, Alicia Keys emerges with a new look and new sound. She exchanges her eloquent piano-playing and soft harmonies for a more gritty and profound tone, and says goodbye to her vibrant makeup and rocks her natural beauty to focus on the importance of one’s appearance. Her new outlook on beauty and music results in a completely new image. Keys’ fanatics are accustomed to the soulful harmonies and hearty instrumentals from previous albums like “Songs in A Minor”(2008)  and “The Element of Freedom”(2009). In this refreshing new album, the piano legend incorporates her old rhythmic style while also bringing a new sense of authenticity to the R&B scene.

Her sixth album “Here” is infused with rich beats and buoyant melodies that elucidate her thoughts on social and personal issues. In tracks like “Pawn it all”, Keys integrates her spirited attitude and profound instrumentals to express her anger on the societal disunity occurring around the world. Her lyrics tell the stories of black individuals who are affected by the ongoing societal issues in our world and sings about the need for change. In her ballad “The Gospel,” Keys tells the story about an African-American family in New York and their experiences as black citizens in a discriminative America.

Her typical R&B vintage vibe is fine tuned with 21 century beats that accentuate the old tones throughout the tracks as well.”

The piano is paired with fierce ear-thumping instrumentals, providing the listener with contrasting melodies that provide an overwhelming sense of euphoria.

The dynamic blend of both the political and personal are perfectly balanced throughout the album. Songs like “Girl Can’t Be Herself” and “Illusion of Bills” focus on her personal life. The upbeat rhythms and her mighty vocals highlight the importance of motherhood and the power of femininity. Hip-hop mogul A$AP Rocky (“Live. Love. A$AP”) also adds his fierce flavor to songs like“Blended Family (What You Do For Love)” to spice up the soulful melody with a more zesty kick. The contrasting music styles paint an elegant portrait of Keys’ hopes and aspirations for herself and for others around the world. Her profound lyrics are what the listeners crave. They feed off of the boisterous beats and fiery choruses playing through their earbuds. People can relate to the words they hear. Keys’ is simply a lyrical genius that influences us all. Each song is a component that makes up a lyrical masterpiece and explores the issues of our troubled society and how change is necessary.

The album is beyond words. Every lyric is laced with originality that leaves an impact on the music industry.

Keys is here. She is present. Her music shines the light on societal issues while also allowing her listeners to delve into the diversified realm of her imagination. From feelings of despondency and euphoria, the contrasting emotions leave listeners dumbfounded as they are exposed to the many aspects of Keys’ mind.

“Here” is more than just an album. It’s a societal stepping stone to change.

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