R&B powerhouse Alicia Keys has finally returned with her 6th studio album, Here. The 18-track album, dropped on Friday following her last album Girl On Fire which was released back in 2012.

 

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The 15-time Grammy winner takes us on a different path with Here. She’s managed to combine her usual hip hop and r&b influences with a raw and unpolished perfection which simply can not be overlooked. The 35-year old also managed to include lyrics on socially charged topics such as police brutality, black empowerment, and individuality. This album of social change compliments her new makeup free look. A challenge to society’s need to pressure women into believing they need makeup to be beautiful. The dancehall inspired track ‘Girl Can’t Be Herself’ is a perfect example of that where the singer chimes “When a girl can’t be herself, I just wanna cry for the world”.

 

One of the songs that stand out most on this album is ‘Illusion Of Bliss’ which Keys claims to be one of her favourites. The song is a blues inspired ballad which features Keys almost confessing to the front she and many others may give when pretending to be okay with lyrics such as “Hey, living in prison of blood and flesh. An easy way out is this high, I confess”. The song also includes some powerful wailing, expressing the pain that comes with pretending to be happy with oneself.

 

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Other songs include ‘The Gospel’ which features Keys changing it up with an impressive rap about the black struggle, ‘Pawn It All’ which is about Keys being willing to give up all her riches if it meant she could start her life over again. And ‘Kill Your Mama’ an acoustic ballad also about social change where it seems Alicia is exposing how badly we as humans have treated our planet as well as each other. You may also enjoy the uplifting vibe of “Blended Family (What You Do For Love)” with A$AP Rocky or you may be looking for something more intense. In that case check out “Holy War” and “Work On It”.

 

The album also features a series of five interludes that capture spoken word poetry and conversations had in the studio with some of her famous friends, the album dives deep when it comes to dissecting some of the urgent issues Keys sees around her. One of them features Keys explaining how she’d heard a young girl make a speech about how beautiful the skin of black people really is. It’s called ‘You Glow’.

 

All in all, Here is a very special album which everyone should hear. What’s very clear is the wokeness she wants us as an audience to experience. It’s definitely Keys’ most honest and thought provoking album yet.

 

You can listen to Here… here:

 

 

 

What do you think of Alicia Keys’ HERE?

 

Written by Luke