Album Review: Here (Deluxe Edition) – Alicia Keys


4 Years Ago…

I bought Girl On Fire. Lord God witnessed how many times I played the CD until now. Every song was a pure masterpiece. Every lyric was divine. It felt like Alicia Keys went back to her roots. She rose from the ashes of confusion and called herself the Girl On Fire!

alicia-keys-here-cover-art

Fast-forwarding the time, the Girl On Fire continues her renaissance journey with a new studio album, Here. The deluxe edition consists of 18 tracks, five of which are interludes. It reveals who the real Alicia Keys is. She unveils herself and makes herself more vulnerable.

Before the track-by-track review, let me share to you AK’s first mini-film that is entitled “The Gospel.” It’s basically a 22-minute black-and-white video divided into chapters. As the movie runs, all her new songs are featured in the background. The 2015’s “28 Thousand Days” serves as the ending track.

Track 1: The Beginning (Interlude)

Track 2: The Gospel

This song reveals the imperfect truth of life. Alicia narrates the story through rapping (first time to hear her rap) with a strong piano background.

5 of 5 stars!

Track 3: Pawn It All

It took me a while to like this song. It’s upbeat. It’s groovy but what’s something that I learn? Well, it goes beyond pawning. Alicia tells another unforgettable story of renaissance. She emphasizes that resetting a life means letting go comes first before moving on.

5 of 5 stars!

Track 4: Elaine Brown (Interlude)

Track 5: Kill Your Mama

Alicia’s power vocals soar high in this guitar ballad. Great lyrics overall. At first, I thought she’s singing about the sacrifices of a mother to her children. Eventually, I realize it’s about Mother Earth and we slowly kill our planet.

5 of 5 stars!

Track 6: She Don’t Really Care_1Luv

I miss those days when Alicia makes a Hip-Hop record. Thank God, this is the one that satisfies my longing! While listening to it for the first time, I couldn’t help it but be moved with the flow and the smooth transition from “She Don’t Really Care” to “1Luv.”.

5 of 5 stars!

Track 7: Elevate (Interlude)

Track 8: Illusion Of Bliss

Alicia’s strength relies on how she takes a song into a new level of truth. This is that song. Its soulful “kind-of-lonely” vibe makes you remember the blissful moments in life built in illusion.

4 of 5 stars!

Track 9: Blended Family (What You Do For Love) ft. ASAP Rocky

This is clearly a special song for Alicia. Just first few seconds, I notice it’s a personal letter filled with heart and soul. It makes me visualize how her life transforms when she married Swizz Beatz.

5 of 5 stars!

Track 10: Work on It

Fake it ’till you make it, how true is it? This song reveals the answer.

5 of 5 stars!

Track 11: Cocoa Butter (Cross & Pic Interlude)

Track 12: Girl Can’t Be Herself

This is the album’s female anthem. Alicia tries to convince all women to continue living despite of all imperfections.

5 of 5 stars!

Track 13: You Glow (Interlude)

Track 14: More Than We Know

I like the old school vibe. It’s one that keeps banging in your head.

4 of 5 stars!

Track 15: Where Do We Begin Now

The song basically tells a story of a controversial relationship – best remembered with these words: “I’m gonna let you know.”

4 of 5 stars!

Track 16: Holy War

This is easy to the ears. It’s a smooth-sailing cruise, peppered with Alicia’s powerful vocals. Its lyrics talk about the truth too. Unfortunately, this truth never exists today.

5 of 5 stars!

Track 17: Hallelujah

This reveals to me the religious side of Alicia. It’s a good meditation song. I get to understand her faith.

4 of 5 stars!

Track 18: In Common

What an impressive way to end an album! It’s smooth. It’s light. It’s Alicia’s signature.

5 of 5 stars!

Overall rating: 9 of 10 stars!

All in all, this seems a follow-up to her Girl On Fire masterpiece. I can hear her cry, her vulnerabilities and her passion to become a better person.

Here divides the songs into R&B, hip-hop and soul without getting tight and boring, in such a way that Alicia Keys makes sure the adventure remains safe and sweet. In case somebody can’t get enough, she gives you the freedom to stream it over and over again.

If there’s anything I’m curious about, why is it called Here? Given the fact it isn’t one of the singles, where did the idea come from? In my own interpretation, Here sounds like a strong reminder. She reminds her fans around the world that she still exists no matter what others are saying against her. Here she stays!

Photo Courtesy of: Facebook

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