Review of Alicia Keys’ poignant sixth album “HERE”

Alicia Keys’ name is big out here, a star singer and multi-platinum artist, Grammy Award winner the mention of her name would have people smile and others drift into singing some of her music, to jog their memories as the conversation goes on, but for this multi-talented singer, she has had to struggle with the concept of being perfect and letting the artificial dictate her life, and throughout this time, she has no doubt been releasing amazing music. Keys recently decided to let go of all that because, as she says, it was killing her true personality.

The new album ‘HERE’ is more of a depiction of the real and grown Alicia Keys, a woman whose thoughts know no boundaries and expressions that speak to her state of mind, most of the tracks here address the real issues that affect most of people across cultures, as she expressively speaks to; life struggles, self-identity, sexuality, politics, poverty, love, race, societal limitations and the free woman. ‘HERE’ is an album, that is explicit in all its character and texture, Keys does not hold back, but rather tells it all as she sees fit-don’t care attitude-for a Keys fan, you will probably view it as kind of fittingly odd, a welcomed transformation.

She [resents that funky soul, jazz tinged, hip hop, reggae strewed and blues flavor rhythms that at some point take us to the church’s doorstep before aptly reviving the sense of humanity. “Pawn It All” which follows “The Gospel”, a more of rugged yet easy allusion of life in the streets and ghettos, speaks of materialism and possessions and how much they don’t mean much to her, giving it all away so as to ‘start my all over again’ she states, the song has that edgy blues-gospel effect to it “Kill Your Mama” on the other note speaks of how the humans are becoming a danger to themselves, disrespecting the environment and playing with genetics to fulfil our desires and the influence of money.

“She Don’t Really Care_1 Luv” comfortably straddles between jazz and hip hop-illmatic vibe-letting us into “Illusions Of Bliss” an emotive track that burdens Keys vocals by design, she cracks her voice as she exclaims about the constraints she has had to face. “Girl Can’t Be Herself” levels on reggae as Keys affirms how secure she is about herself, a rallying call to women to take control of their lives and put aside criticism about their looks. Keys’ revolutionary side picks off on “More Than We Know” she speaks truth between this track and “Where Do We Begin Now” numbers that are inclined to situations revolving around US politics calling on the Americans to fight for their rights.

“HERE” is an album that is meant to portray Keys’ thoughts, she tells her stories with both protestor straightforwardness and the oddness presented by the album concept is both captivating and unclear in some instances, which could be because of the whole idea that she has found her new true self, as it were, the project quintessentially revolves around the idea that nothing in this world is perfect and imperfections make the true of us.

Keys’ sixth studio album includes contributions from Jimmy Napes, Emeli Sandé and Asap Rocky and production from Pharrell Williams and Swizz Beatz. Released November 4, Label: RCA