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Thursday, 30 June 2011



Still in the right key.

This week marks the 10th anniversary release of Alicia Keys major label debut 'Songs In A Minor'. A first-release which showcased not only one of the best albums of the last decade but one of the best artists too. New York's finest came straight from Hell's Kitchen, cooking up a heavenly sound. Alicia ruled the world of music with her huge, platinum classic. Stirring soul music, whilst bringing it to the popular, mainstream consensus. The epic, dramatic 'Piano & I' intro tinkled us with her incredible, inspiring ivory skill, while the ODB sampling shimmy of 'Girlfriend' (featuring Jermaine Dupri) and it's funky foundations laid the groundwork for chart success. Still it was the ultimate, timeless music classics that has kept this album in CD changers for years. Songs like the legendary rising 'Fallin'' or the perfect Prince composition 'How Come You Don't Call Me'. Miss Keys really proved her value with 'A Woman's Worth', setting the Aretha Franklin respect benchmark for rally-cry songs for females. The Nas and Busta Rhymes remixes of this and 'Fallin'' respectively earned even more respect with it's musical and lyrical dynamics and differences.

Unlike most big albums it didn't end there however. Alicia Keys kept going with us on 'Rock Wit U' and made a name for herself with album favourites like 'Jane Doe' or the freeing 'Caged Bird'. Through 'Troubles', 'The Life', 'Never Felt This Way' and 'Goodbye', Alicia went through it all on the 2001 release that lasted beyond the four seasons. 'Mr. Man' showed more of this woman's worth, as did the floating 'Butterflyz' and the unquestionable 'Why Do I Feel So Sad'. Even the hidden gem 'Loving You Is Easy' was a real bonus. Not only was this disc a groundbreaking record for this young Manhattan made singer, it was also earth-shattering for music. Modern day rhythm and blues grew up in the new millennium and it hasn't looked or sounded the same since.

Now after more classic songs ('You Don't Know My Name', 'No One', 'Try Sleeping With A Broken Heart'), albums ('The Diary', 'As I Am', 'Element Of Freedom') and great guest appearances (Eve's 'Gangster Lovin'', Usher's 'My Boo' and Jay-Z's 'Empire State Of Mind') A. Keys returns wth the deluxe edition of her complete opening album. With enhanced content and new improvements on favourites like 'Butterfly' this bonus disc really stands out. The lead single 'Typewriter' shows this singer/songwriter has plenty more left in keys, while the 'Original Funky Demo' of 'The Diary' entry 'If I Was Your Woman' is a great take. As is the 'ALI Soundtrack Version' of 'Fallin'' which is as epic as the film itself, (just like her 'Fight' song from the great Will Smith film about the boxing legend). The 'Mixtape Version' of 'Juiciest' also packs a punch showing this New Yorker hits the tapes as hard as rap icon The Notorious B.I.G. While cementing her own N.Y. State of legend and legacy, Alicia Keys adds a little something extra to a perfect album. These big tracks just show us how much of a star and talent she is. On the decade anniversary of a modern-day great and all-round classic, Keys celebrates with decadence. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

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