First Impressions: Alicia Keys Cools Down The 'Fire'

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

After being dazzled with Alicia Keys' gorgeous album cover for her upcoming fifth album, Katniss Everdeen Girl On Fire, I was a little disappointed in Keys barely fanning the flames with its singles, "New Day" and the title track. Not that they were horrid, just that it was just tepid, treading water type of stuff that Keys is better equip to even waste time on.

Like I was expecting, Keys has revived me, and has done so on the alternate version of "Girl On Fire". She promised that there will be three versions of the track and that's just code for: "If the first song sucks and flops, I got two back-ups, whoohoo!" 

The 'second version', "Girl On Fire (Blue Light)" is the zone where Keys needs to be. It's a cerebral, slow electro-R&B jammy that is on par with the meditative groove that embodied "Unthinkable (Get Ready)", but with more of an anthem feel to it. Very sultry and very much the direction I wish Keys would dig in more often instead of all these plastic yodeling numbers she gets herself lodged into at times. So yeah, I'm just going to act like the Nicki Minaj assisted "Inferno" take doesn't exist. Ah, the beauty of choices...

Keys also sweetened the pot by coming correct on the third inkling from Girl On Fire, "Not Even The King", which she debuted at the Stand Up To Cancer broadcast over the weekend with a cute lyric video in tow. I still stick by what I said that when Keys does things delicately, she really does shine and on "King" she pens a poignant love sketch that shows off her wordsmithing abilities and vocal poweress with much sophistication and control. Girl On Fire will be arriving November 27th, and from the sound of things so far it'll warm up the winter stall just nicely.

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