Alicia Keys ‘Keys’ Album Review

It’s been a long time since I’ve listened to an entire Alicia Keys album from start to finish. Keys is a double disk, so it is going to be a challenge.

I appreciate how on the opening track Plentiful after a Keys piano intro, Pusha T comes on the track hard. His verse, mixed with Keys’ soothing vocals, sets a nice tone for the album. 

I really want to like Best ofMe but it falls short of comparing to Sade’s original 1985 track. It’s nice to keep the South African singer’s music alive, but some artists are near impossible to recreate. Sade is one of those artists. Alicia Keys is hard to emulate in her own right. 

On Dead End Roads Keys channels the same energy from her 2009 hit No One. Keys’ vocals can create a reverberation in your soul that has the power to heal. I know personally I listened to No One over and over during a particular tough time in my life. I feel Dead End Roads could have a similar effect for some people.

If you’re anything like me and love jazz music, then Is It Insane will turn your living room into a 20’s era Harlem Jazz joint. I’m getting strong Harlem Nights vibes. The track samples a classic jazz riff beauty, and the song flows throughout. 

Only You is a song that would usually go on my easy listening list, but there is something special about it. It’s the kind of song that grows on you after listening to it a few times. Go ahead and throw this track on and listen to it twice back-to-back to get a full feel of the track. 

Old Memories has a similar energy to Only You. It’s a wonderful track, but nothing that will blow your socks off. It’s the kind of track you can play if your in-laws are in the car. The whole album would work in this context as a matter of fact. 

Keys digs deep in her soul for Nat King Cole. The song summons a musical style of the past. The song features strong vocals, a strings section, Keys’ traditional piano, all tied together with impeccable composition. This song is an instant classic for Keys!

Paper Flowers sounds like a lullaby I would play for my daughter, if I had one. It’s a lovely song, fit for a little Brown princess. It’s a lovely track. 

Keys channels her classical training for the title track Keys. The song features no singing and is a great way to end this lovely album.

Easy Listening Tracks:
Skydive
Love When You Call My Name
Like Water

Misses: Both songs have remix versions that groove better. 
Billions
Daffodils

Disk Two features remixes of Disk One tracks for the club. We at The Black American Spring want y’all to listen to the album for yourselves. Considering that the Disk Two songs have the same names I’m not going to make this confusing. Listen and let us know what you think. 

Spoiler alert, BestOfMe on Disk Two is a much nicer track. The production and old school “house” vibe is a nice touch. 

Spoiler two, Mike WiLL Made-It and Lil Wayne make a legit appearance on Nat King Cole. Bringing the track a completely different energy. 

Third and final spoiler, ComeForMe on the second disk is a nice tribute to Ciara’s 2021 Ride. I’m here for it. 



The following links are shameless plugs for my younger cousin HERNBEAN5150. I’m proud of my lil homie!

https://hernon.bandcamp.com/track/clothes-prod-she-skin

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