Alicia Keys – Here (RCA Records, 2016)
Here is where Alicia Keys sings her heart and soul out to the ones who need to hear it most. On this album, her signature R&B style evolves towards gospel and experimental. Keys keeps it simple with slow rhythms and voiceover tales—it’s as if you are having a conversation with her through her music. In her track “Kill Your Mama,” she sings as though she is speaking to you about life’s struggles. She doesn’t specify which ones—her storytelling is rather about having hope. In this track, she asks one important question: “Is there any changing us, even for the sake of love?” For the track “She Don’t Really Care,” Keys mixes elements of slow jazz and an instrumental excerpt from rapper Nas’ song “One Love,” which represents her hometown of New York City. My personal favourite song off the album is “Blended Family,” featuring A$AP Rocky, where her R&B-pop sound resurfaces. It’s the only song on the album that sounds like the Alicia Keys we used to know.
Trial Track: “Blended Family” ft. A$AP Rocky