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After Fallin' skyrocketed her career in music, Alicia Keys is back once again with her fourth studio album, The Element of Freedom. With much success from songs like You Don't Know My Name, If I Ain't Got You, Karma, and No One, The Element of Freedom boasts tracks that are equal in terms of musicality to these, and some that fall below. Like her previous albums, Alicia Keys doesn't stay away from the piano, with the exception of Love is My Disease.

The hour-long LP starts off with Love is Blind, and its intro is more than enough to hook you in. The first single taken from The Element of Freedom, Doesn't Mean Anything sounds more like the Alicia we know. Apart from the nice fusion of the piano and drums, it doesn't possess the richness nor the depth to set it apart from the rest. The edgier Try Sleeping With A Broken Heart follows with its drum-powered, abstract arrangement and Keys' brilliant piano playing, definitely one of the great tracks of the album.

That's How Strong My Love Is is piano-led with an enchanting hook, quite the classic ballad. Un-Thinkable (I'm Ready) is the fourth single off The Element of Freedom, and the hook sounds beguiling as Keys strains her voice through delicate piano strokes that adds to its magic. And that's just the hook. I am outing Love Is My Disease as the worst track arrangement-wise. As I have said in the previous paragraph, Keys ventures out of the piano and opts for reggae-infused instrumentals that clash with Keys' singing, and the out of place pausing between the lines doesn't help it at all.

Put It In A Love Song. Ah, the wolf among sheep. In this track, Keys enlists Beyoncé's help to come up with a vibrant, upbeat club anthem that really singles it out from the entire album. Now, being the outcast isn't necessarily bad, but the thing is, albums like The Element of Freedom stick to a theme, and Put It In A Love Song is a misfit. This Bed reminds me of old 80's R&B tunes, easily one of the better tracks in the LP. An answer to Jay Z's Empire State of Mind where Alicia Keys also featured in is its part II Broken Down. The chorus doesn't get old, and I get goosebumps just listening to it. Empire State of Mind (II) Broken Down is beautiful, full of soul, and it's one very rich and powerful song.

Though Alicia Keys sporadically trades in the piano for electronic keys, the overall sound of The Element of Freedom is identical to her previous efforts. It lacks the element of surprise, and with the musical ability of such an established artist like Alicia Keys, one might expect an album which pushes the boundaries of creativity and artistry, and it does neither.



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