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by Nicole von Trapp
By now you've probably heard a lot of fuss about the artist otherwise known as Alicia - both good and bad. Should you give Alicia Keys a try?
Is her puny debut album worth your hard earned money and will it be something that you come back to again and again? Or will you be selling it on online after two or three spins?
You've heard people claim how talented she is, but by the same token, you've also heard her music just isn't very good. As in not very catchy and sophisticated. And not true R&B. Besides, who needs yet another teen diva when we have Britney and gang - they'll be a hundred times better than some newbie, right?
Allow me to prove otherwise.
First of all, if you're looking for a par-tay and mindless dancing, look elsewhere. Alicia Keys is not Britney, Christina, Billie, or any other of the pop singing, disco dancing divas you are already used to on the radio. She's a musician. She sings, plays the piano, produces and writes her own material. Top that off with the fact that she's only nineteen years old.
Alicia's songs aren't just one set fourmula either. She covers everything on her album from falling in love for the very first time ("Butterflyz"), relationships ("Rock Wit U", "Mr. Man", and of course the famous "Fallin'"), social issues ("A Woman's Worth"), and depression (the highly personal and much overlooked "Caged Bird").
Even the interludes are great - they don't sound like the typical two minute interludes (and no, there's no annoying answering machine messages, so don't press the skip button yet); rather, they gradually introduce the next song and underscore the emotional theme. If that isn't sophisticated, I don't know what is.
Without a doubt Alicia's sound is R&B - true R&B - strongly relying on the blues roots. But she doesn't let that limit her in any way - her songs experiment with pounding rock, Latin rhythms and pop sounds. Maybe there's more.
That's another great thing about her music; each time you listen to it, you discover something new, even if it's the same song and you've heard it a hundred times already.
Still think you won't enjoy her music, except for maybe the singles? Quite honestly, I once thought so too. But slowly I found myself growing more curious about what this song contained, or what that song was about. One day I just got sucked in and listened to the whole thing, from start to finish.
If you're still unsure about her music, take her album to a listening booth, pick a few songs that sound interesting, and decide for yourself if she's merely the flavour of the month or an artist with staying power. I've already come to my desicion - she definitely fits into the latter.