by A. BLU
De Novo Adagio (intro) – A short and simple intro that showcases the classically trained skills that some may have forgotten Ms. Keys possessed. Would have been lovely if this were longer with lyrics attached. I wonder what that would have sounded like.
Brand New Me – The intro goes straight into this song, which actually brings the lyrics that I hoped to hear mentioned above. I think this song is a personal note to all of her critiques out there that have had issues with the way her personal life has resulted to the past few years. She talks about her growth, and how no one should be mad or feel bad for the changes that have occurred with her. This song is about accepting oneself, and not worrying about the opinions of others. It’s a really good song with a poignant message. However, there were essences of straining in some areas of the song.
When It’s All Over – Right away reminded me of an old school, late 60s/early 70s kind of feel. I really appreciate the different directions that are shown throughout this album. This song is about accepting the fact that you loved someone, regardless of the amount of time you had with that individual. It’s about living the love in the moment, and not worrying about what may happen tomorrow. I don’t think it has a foreboding vibe or nature to it, but more-so growing old with someone and enjoying the time you have with them, for life is impossible to foretell. And the inclusion of her son at the end was sweet.
Listen to Your Heart – Smooth mellow song that would definitely fit on the adult r&b contemporary stations. I think this would definitely fit into that vein. The title of the song essentially reads the entirety of the song. It’s about listening to your heart and going after what it tells you. Going after what you truly desire when it comes to love. About not fighting what is in front of you or meant for you.
New Day – Boom. That is what I first thought when the beat blared through my headphones. Alicia Keys and crew are able to converse piano keys with heavy bass and different beats, which not everyone is capable to do. This is about rebirth, and getting ready and prepared for that celebration. This is a song that will definitely be on repeat. Though I can’t say I loved the ending. If they could fix that, I would be in love.
Girl on Fire (feat Nicki Minaj) – I appreciate the fact that Nicki did not bring her alters to this song. She was serious, or portrayed her lyrics with the modicum of seriousness that this song needed. This song is about women who are strong, strong-willed, independent and capable. So many people fit this image and can relate to it, so it’s sort of an anthem for every kind of woman out there, wherever you come from.
Fire We Make – I love Maxwell. I will always be one that appreciates his music and see his concrete, genuine and accurate talent. It’s amazing that he doesn’t have more Grammys. Alicia starts this song off attempting to get close to hitting some of those high notes/falsettos that Maxwell is famously known for. This is a very sultry and sexy song. It was very strong of her to include Maxwell on here.
Tears Always Win – This song brings me back to the Diary of Alicia Keys. Again, it has the old school flavor involved, maybe circa the 50s/60s. I could see this being a single. One of my favorites off the entire album.
Not Even the King – Short and simple song about love being the only thing you really need to take from a relationship. Materialism and all of the extra stuff can only last so long.
That’s When I Knew – Interesting use of a guitar utilized in this song. Something I wouldn’t exactly expected from Alicia Keys. It’s about surrendering to the obviousness of loving or falling in love with someone. Sometimes people make it so hard, but the simple things can at times help you realize the reality the situation.
Limitedless – What can I say about this song besides the creation of a new word? Reggae/island influenced, which actually isn’t foreign to this artist. It’s a very catchy song about love being relatable to an infinity of possibilities.
One Thing – I can’t say that this will be one of my favorite songs on the album. She sings about choosing ‘one thing’ over anything else. That can be interpreted as anything to just about anybody (which could be a good thing), but when it comes to specifics I think she is speaking of her son. There are moments where she strains a bit.
101 – The longest track on the album. Starts out very quiet and relaxed.The message I get is basically what sets you apart? For her it’s putting 101% percent in everything. It has a strong ending (which I very much liked), but her voice definitely strains.
Girl On Fire is vulnerable, playful, soulful and empowering. These are some of the definite themes interlaced throughout the whole album. Yet love seems to be the main one that carries the others. It is obvious that Alicia Keys is especially happy with her life at the moment, and because of that and her talent she has been able to showcase that throughout her music for her fans. She has gone through an evolution that is very clear, and she is one that allows and can portray it in her music. She is a talented individual. However, I have to say that I am worried about her vocal ability. In some of the songs on this album it was seeming a bit strained, or rather raspy, and I see it has transitioned from her stage performance to her studio album. I think one Vivian Greene is in the same genre with her album The Green Room where I mentioned the same thing in my review there. I know many hope for her (or even the both of them) to take care of her voice so she will have no worries on sustaining a lengthy career.