Friday, November 9, 2007

"ALICIA KEYS "As I Am" : My Review"

I've been a fan of Alicia's since the beginning. I didn't love every track she's ever laid down, but I do believe I fall into the 'fan' category. That said, below is my unbiased review of her new album "As I Am"  - Ace:)

1. "AS I AM" (intro) - Mellow little ivory tickling action followed by am amateur-ishly programmed drum track which uses the snare from Joeski Love's Hip-Hop classic "Pee-Wee's Dance" - ends with applause - it works for what it is I suppose...

2. "GO AHEAD" - The beat isn't that great.... Chord progression is pretty nice.. Her vocals were produced well. Chorus is monotonous. Cool little Stevie Wonder'esque keyboard sounding thing happening...  Is that Billy Squier's "Big Beat" drum sample running towards the end of the song?!? If it is, it is not in synch with the main drum track. Sloppy on purpose? I don't know!

3. "SUPERWOMAN" - (Co-written by Linda Perry) Vintage sounding piano at the top... Again great production with regards to her vocals. Lots of signature Alicia Keys "yeah's" going on. This is one of those uplifting songs that all the females can burn their bras to. (no offense to any bra-burning females reading this)  While it sounds nothing like "A Woman's Worth" it does contain the same spirit. Potential single here.

4. "NO ONE" - Never liked it. Never will. The end.

5. "LIKE YOU'LL NEVER SEE ME AGAIN" - This track sounds like Rose Royce's "I'm going down" in the beginning. Whispery vocals....  The snare bothers me. There's one turn VERY reminiscent of Prince's "Diamonds and Pearls". Pretty good overall. Nice bump-n-grind album cut.

6. "LESSON LEARNED" (ft. John Mayer) - Brilliant track. Well produced.... John Mayer's gee-tar is working for sure. Their voices sound nice together surprisingly. Nice piano... A fine vocal performance. Another hit single for Ms. Keys.

7. "WRECKLESS LOVE" - GREAT DRUMS!!! Fab double time vocal pattern... Sweet vocal performance once again. Strings.. Horns...  SMOKIN' track for sure. As they said way back in the days 'A real toe-tapper'. Big single here.

8. "THE THING ABOUT LOVE" - (co-written by Linda Perry) Zzzzzzzzzzz...... It picks up when she 'takes it to tha bridge though'. Her voice sounds nice here too. Not Auto-Tuned all to hell, which is nice these days. Something about this song makes me want to hear it used as a movie theme. Dunno... Decent track overall.

9. "TEENAGE LOVE AFFAIR" -  The 70's are back y'all! Well, they never left as far as my musical listening habits are concerned. Anyways, total throwback cut. Reminds me of Main Ingredients' "Everybody Plays The Fool". Lots of vocal fills (yeah.uhh) in the background. There's also an Alicia speaking section of the song. The song's a smash. My favorite track on the album.

10. "I NEED YOU" - Nice Neptunes'esque drums. Kind of a boring chune. Interesting use of horns. Suspect lyric: "I Need You, Like the desert needs rain". YIKES. This song runs way too long (5:00) - Album filler.

11. "WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE" - Intro Starts off sounding like an old 78 record complete with that distant mono vinyl record scratch, pop, and crackle.. Again, they used the kick and snare from Billy Squire's "Big Beat". Come on now...  Suspect lyric #2: "Tracks of my tears"?? - Sung repeatedly. Ummmm..... Paying homage to a classic is one thing... Being cliché is another. Not really feeling this one. Glorified album filler. Perhaps they can do a remix for the UK with Dizzee Rascal chanting some unintelligible nonsense on it.

12. "PRELUDE TO A KISS" - Alicia and a piano. 2 minute song. Why?? Album filler.

13. "TELL YOU SOMETHING" (Nana's Reprise) . Well produced song. Rather uneventful however. A bit boring. Nice little drum roll here and there.... Decent album cut.

14. "SURE LOOKS GOOD TO ME" - (co-written by Linda Perry) BLATANT rip-off of Stevie Wonder's "I Was Made To Love Her" to the point where he should sue her ass. FOR REAL. The drums are crap, and she's shouting. Attempting to be one of those 'go out there and conquer the world - you can do it!" songs. Not feeling it. Cut Stevie a check. Sloppy.
Overall I'm giving the album a C+. I just feel that it could have had more killer and less filler. At the end of the day I do recommend picking it up. There are enough solid tracks to make the purchase worth it. - Ace:)

#3. "LESSON LEARNED" (ft. John Mayer)

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