Thursday, June 28, 2012
First Impressions: It's A Brand 'New Day' For Alicia Keys
A lot has been said of Alicia Keys these last couple of years or so, and not all of it has been peaches n' cream. In fact, a lot of it has been vile, icky, and sticky, and if you rotate around the music commentary circles that I do, it's apparent (to me) that Ms. Keys has been banished to some form of Singer/Songwriter Siberia. Her personal life has cast that shadow as well as her recent musical output, as not too many enjoyed 2009's The Element Of Freedom (well, I did as it grew on me). What I gather is that Keys didn't rise to the occasion and hype, and we're all sore about it, hence the backlash. Or maybe it's something else? For some reason, I get the animosity towards Keys. Her voice hasn't been the easiest to listen to in these last years, and her material has been hit-n-miss, her decline starting somewhere around 2007's lackluster As I Am. But Keys still has viable moments that show her at her best and that I can't overlook, it's just that I wish she stick to things on a caliber that "Un-thinkable (I'm Ready)" was on, because when Keys is good...she's real good.
Before diving into this, let me just say Keys looks gorgeous in that photo, but I can't glow the same praise for "New Day", Keys' freshly minted first single from her upcoming fifth album. The Swizz Beats produced "New Day" is brassy in attitude, drips with positive go-getter vibes, and riddled with urgent percussion, and Keys sounds animated throughout---it's got all the perfect trappings for summer cruising in the fast lane. Just that overall it's pretty real run-of-the-mill, with a lot of annoying "eh-eh-eh's" in-between that have to be Rihanna inspired. It just feels too generic and safe for Keys considering her past material. Still it coasts by on its sunny disposition, and with Keys citing in the lyrics a future so bright, shades and a 'deal with it' attitude can be donned to this little gaffe.