The Diary of Alicia Keys
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Alicia Keys has more than lived up to the promise of her formidable debut Songs in A Minor, pushing beyond her flirtation with old-school soul and venturing into the modern world, even hiring Timbaland to guide her through the shoals of anthemic hip-hop on the breathless and funkified "Heartburn." Sounding like a hyperthyroid cheerleader, Keys unleashes a quirky sense of humor that no one even suspected she possessed. Her effortless singing on the beat-driven "Karma" is a wonder of sonics on this uplifting piece of pop philosophy, giving countless anxious woman hope that everything will work out as it's meant to, or on "Samsonite Man," where it won't. But despite her edgy styling and jazzy vocal posturing, Keys hasn't abandoned her love for old R&B and travels back in time, giving Gladys Knight's "If I Was Your Woman" a face lift it may not have needed, then turns around and recasts the song as the winsome and dramatic "You Don't Know My Name." But at its heart, The Diary of Alicia Keys is a gross misnomer. After listening to the disc, fans will know little more about the elusive diva than they did before, her lyrical style consistently more narrative than confessional. In fact, the title track doesn't delve into the singer's inner life, but instead is about a long-distance love affair, with Keys promising the object of her affection that: "I won't tell your secrets/Your secrets are safe with me/I will keep your secrets/Just think of me as the pages in your diary."--Jaan Uhelszki
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