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Alicia Keys - Songs in A Minor
Alicia Keys shocked the world when her album Songs In A Minor, debuted atop the pop charts, helping J Records sustain the most successful label launch in history.

Outsiders were caught off guard, but I can guarantee you that Keys was not surprised by her success.  From the b-girl post on the cover to the opening chords of this album, her self-confidence is quite apparent, as her exhortations to "feel me" sound less like a request than a demand.

For a 20 year old, the lady has undeniable skills, but she's suffering from an inflated sense of importance.  That ego is presumably caused her to split from Jermaine Dupri's camp, but having an experienced hand involved may have resulted in a more well-rounded listen.

Throughout, Keys' main topic seems to be relationships, or rather, her inability to dominate them.  "Girlfriend" hits us with some enjoyably basic beats but that refrain "I think I'm jealous of your girlfriend/Although she's just a girl who is your friend" hints at her need to be the focus of attention.   Elsewhere, she talks about the possibility of having to fight a rival for a lover ("Jane Doe") and enlists the services of Isaac Hayes for "Rock Wit U," which should qualify as a bite of "Joy" even if he is the song's producer.  

Given her indulgent tendencies, no big surprise that she tackles another egocentric keyboardist, Prince, on her cover of "How Come You Don't Call Me Anymore."  Like most covers, it does not improve on the original, but as a statement from one self-defined genius to another, it's priceless.

With a sense of experience that belies her years, Keys has positioned herself at the forefront of the nu soul divas.  But like Erykah Badu and Lauryn Hill before her, you get a feeling that people will be lining up to expose any flaws in her game.  Here's hoping that Keys develops the maturity needed to take her music to the next level without going through some embarassing situations.

 

Copyright 2001 Anthony Lamar Rucker.  All rights reserved.

 
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Released 2001 on J Records

Selected Tracks:

Fallin'
Girlfriend
Caged Bird

 

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