Alicia Keys Makes an Exceptional Comeback with “Here”.

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Alicia Keys – Photo c/o Alicia Keys’ Google Plus Page

I’m a bit delayed in my review of this album, which was released on Nov. 4th, but better later than never!

For those that know me well, they know what a huge fan I’ve been of Alicia Keys since she debuted back in 2001. I’ve always loved the soulfulness of her voice and the sheer authenticity of the music she produces.

In my humble opinion, in all the albums she has released to date, she has always stayed true to herself, which is what I really admire about her as an artist. It’s just been a steady evolvement over time as she grew as a musician and a person.

Although I think every track is excellent on her latest release, Here, there are three songs that particularly stand out for me:

Blended Family: This is a very unique song that illustrates Alicia’s own life as she talks about how hard it can be to be a part of a blended family. I really love how the song speaks directly at the children involved, because they essentially are what matter the most in complicated situations like these.

Take a listen here:

Girl Can’t Be Herself: This is another great, authentic, song speaking to the continuous pressures society can put on women to always look a certain way and how detrimental it can be when you are scrutinized for not always adhering to those societal standards. It’s a friendly reminder that natural beauty does exist. Alicia herself has recently taken a stance on wearing little to no makeup which enhances her authenticity as an artist by “living out” her songs, so to speak. (She looks amazing, by the way!)

Unfortunately, I could not find a viable Youtube due to copyright reasons, but here’s a sample from Spotify for you to get a sneak peak.

Holy War: This one really tugs at my heart strings. Alicia’s lyrical talent is unwavering and is really apparent in this track. It actually gives me hope for the world. It’s a beautiful ballad which speaks to the twisted reality we live in with global violence often condoned in the name of religion while love and intimacy is seen as obscene.

Here are lyrics to this track for you to see what I mean:
If war is holy and sex is obscene
We’ve got it twisted in this lucid dream
Baptized in boundaries, schooled in sin
Divided by difference, sexuality and skin

Oh so we can hate each other and fear each other
We can build these walls between each other
Baby, blow by blow and brick by brick
Keep yourself locked in, yourself locked in
Yeah we can hate each other and fear each other
We can build these walls between each other
Baby, blow by blow and brick by brick
Keep yourself locked in, yourself locked

Oh maybe we should love somebody
Oh maybe we could care a little more
So maybe we should love somebody
Instead of polishing the bombs of holy war

What if sex was holy and war was obscene
And it wasn’t twisted, what a wonderful dream
Living for love, unafraid of the end
Forgiveness is the only real revenge

Oh so we can heal each other and fill each other
We can break these walls between each other
Baby, blow by blow and brick by brick
Keep yourself open, yourself open
Yeah we can heal each other and fill each other
We can break these walls between each other
Baby, blow by blow and brick by brick
Keep yourself open, you’re open

So maybe we should love somebody
Maybe we could care a little more
So maybe we should love somebody
Instead of polishing the bombs of holy war

What if love was holy and hate obscene
We should give life to this beautiful dream
Cause peace and love ain’t so far
If we nurse our wounds before they scar
Nurse our wounds before they scar

Overall, I give the album a 4.5/5.

Why not a 5/5?

Well, this might sound silly, but she does drop a couple of f-bombs on this album, which to my knowledge is a first for her. I own all of her albums and she has never been known to swear, so I was a bit conflicted on whether the profanity was justified.

If you have not heard the album yet or have never followed Alicia Keys, I strongly urge you to at least listen to the songs I’ve highlighted. You won’t be disappointed.

I’m really hoping for a 2017 tour with a stop in Toronto in the wake of this album. I’ve seen her in concert three times before and she is absolutely brilliant live.

Feel free to check out my related post on her two previously released songs prior to this album coming out.

 

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