Label: RCA RECORDS LABEL
Alicia Keys’ first album in four years ago hearkens to her heartfelt and piano-based debut. There are few showy pop ballads, just Keys singing about self-worth, black identity, and social issues. On “Illusion of Bliss,” she takes on the bluesy voice of a woman struggling with poverty and drug addiction; for “She Don’t Really Care,” she remembers her years growing up in New York. On “Blended Family,” she reprises the chords from Edie Brickell’s “What I Am” to address the children of the man she’s married to (in this case, producer Swizz Beats), and sings, “Everything is alright with me and your mama/Everybody here you know adores ya.” In a year when socially conscious urban music has surged to the forefront, the emotionally sincere tones of Here should fit right in.