Wednesday, September 23, 2009

We have listened to the new Alicia Keys single and this is what we think about it

It's hard to think of an artist as self-conciously inoffensive as Alicia Keys. Her records are about as dangerous as a sandwich. Unless it’s a peanut butter jelly sandwich and you suffer from a serious nut allergy, in which case Alicia Keys records are actually less dangerous than a sandwich. Amazing, but true.

Yet I've always had a soft spot for her. If I Ain't Got You, for example, is a power ballad so potent that it is directly responsible for more than six million pregnancies per day.

More excitingly / less disturbingly, there is a secret ghetto gangsta princess lurking within Ms Keys. I Need You, from As I Am, has the most exciting drum pattern this side of Stevie Wonder's Supersition. The Timbaland-produced Heartburn, from The Secret Diary of Alicia Keys, is funkier than a mosquito's tweeter.

Keys two most recent releases showcase both sides of her songwriting. Empire State Of Mind, her duet with Jay-Z, is a defiant, gargantuan love letter to New York. Keys belts out the chorus with the demented exuberance of Tigger on catnip. It is so brilliant that it entered the UK top 40 on Sunday on the strength of its availabilty on Jay-Z's Blueprint 3 album.

But Keys new solo track, Doesn't Mean Anything, is the polar opposite. A slightly anonymous "my-life-isn't-the-same-since-you-said-goodbye" relationship drama, it sounds like a neutered version of her gospelly powerhouse, No-One. A crowdpleaser, no doubt, but one we'll file under the heading "wake me up when this one ends".

Both are below for your delectation.

[if the above video doesn't work, here's the official "embedding disabled by request" version]

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