The Element of Freedom

Studio Album by released in 2009
The Element of Freedom's tracklist:
Element of Freedom (intro)
Love Is Blind
Doesn't Mean Anything
Try Sleeping With a Broken Heart
Wait Til You See My Smile
That's How Strong My Love Is
Un-Thinkable (I'm Ready)
Love Is My Disease
Like the Sea
Put It in a Love Song (feat. Beyonce)
This Bed
Distance and Time
How It Feels to Fly
Empire State of Mind, Part II: Broken Down
Through It All
Pray for Forgiveness

The Element of Freedom review

Alicia Keys’s fourth album in eight years

The conqueror of numerous charts and ratings, the singer Alicia Keys stepped onto the stage all of a sudden, and all of a sudden did she grab the lead. She struck the listeners with the confidence of her performing. It felt like her songs were sung not by a twenty-year old debutante, but by an established artist who had spent in music more than a decade. It was eight years ago. Now Alicia has four studio albums in her personal collection, and the last one of them is the subject of this review. It is called The Element Of Freedom. Keys’ previous studio work was delivered two years ago under the title As I Am. Originally seen as a soul-singer, Alicia recorded that album at the minimum distance from pop-music. In line with that, critics and followers of this singer’s music were not sure about what to expect from The Element Of Freedom. It seemed highly possible that Keys would like to push the boundaries of her music even wider, but this never happened. Generally speaking, her fourth effort is a recapitulation of what the singer has achieved since the start of her glorious career.

The Element Of Freedom: perfect quality against minor mistakes

The first single off The Element Of Freedom, a song called Doesn’t Mean Anything, shows the direction chosen by Alicia Keys while working on As I Am. This composition, collecting the traces of RnB and pop-music, is hardly a good sample of the last record and is not likely to become its main hit. The first truly interesting track here is, probably, Try Sleeping With A Broken Heart. It is built upon a drum beat that is accompanying Alicia’s whisper that is turned into a raised voice only for a couple of lines. The album also features a star cooperation. Alicia recorded Put It In A Love Song with Beyonce, which appears an explosive dance hit. It was a wise decision to add in a re-working of Keys’ old track called Empire State of Mind (Part II) Broken Down, originally performed by her for Jay-Z’s album Blueprint 3. The new version is a convincing sign of the singer’s professional growth. Sure, the record has drawbacks. Distance And Time, a song that could make a very impressive number, is actually ruined by the dull drum samples. Without them the composition would highlight the voice and the piano, which could be a much better variant. However, moments like this one are very few here.

Simply a nice album

The first impression from The Element Of Freedom is that it is not as hit-oriented as As I Am. The 2007 effort was dynamic, melodic and unpredictable. The new record has a number of different advantages, albeit less detectable. First of all, it is about the lyrics that became more profound and thoughtful, which is the singer’s merit. Secondly, the music of the fresh album’s songs is less effective as that of the former work, which makes the tracks more dependent on Alicia Keys’ singing. And when it comes to the vocals, you have to say that she pushes herself to the limit. Focusing on the maximum quality execution and denying stylistic experimentations, the artist reached a higher professional level. As a result, the songs of The Element Of Freedom are impossible to fall into the categories of ultimate hits and ‘the rest’, which is a common thing for studio works by many pop-music performers. It is a long player with equally good songs to grant you pleasure, whether you are an Alicia Keys’ fan or simply a supporter of nice music with nice singing.