Alicia Keys opens up with “De Novo Adagio,” meaning, “a slow start,” the slow-tempo, classical song perfectly describes Girl on Fire’s flow. Girl on Fire, Alicia Keys’ fifth studio album, gives listeners insight into her growth lyrically, vocally and creatively.
“Brand New Me” speaks to the public; introducing the “new” Alicia Keys, a woman who is not afraid to speak up and out for what she believes in, regardless of what others believe. Keys has always spoken softly through her music, but after seeing her go through love, marriage and motherhood, the singer is opening up on an entirely different level. “Don’t be mad, it’s just a brand new kind of free.”
It’s hard to put Keys in a musical box. With jazz- and soul-influenced vocals, Keys complements her superb classical background to create a sound that is difficult to replicate without live instruments.
“When It’s All Over” reminds you of the early years with Whitney and Bobbi Kristina as Keys’ son, Egypt, makes an appearance. Though Alicia Keys was probably singing to herself in “Listen To Your Heart,” the up-tempo song has a 90s feel that somehow seems to fall in sync with the rhythm of your heart.
Keys slowly picks up the pace with “A New Day.” A collaborative effort from Dr. Dre, Swizz Beatz, and Keys, the production is nothing less than classic. From lyrics to melody, this song will inspire you to treat everyday as your last. As the ending beat that screams Swizz may confuse radio listeners, it’s the perfect segway to the inferno version of “Girl on Fire”. While the song allows Nicki Minaj to flex her lyrical abilities, Keys’ shows vocal range and power like we’ve never heard before.
Lovers are in for a treat with Maxwell’s feature on “Fire We Make.” “Tears Always Win,” where Keys sings about missing a lost love, features the songwriting of Bruno Mars. “Not Even A King” has a very common message, yet Keys brings a strong visual that fits the holiday season.
“Limitedless” is a reggae-inspired love song that would be fitting for a Beyonce remix, accompanied by a fun and colorful music video.
Frank Ocean’s songwriting and vocal arrangements are apparent onn “One Thing” as Keys stretches to reach high notes that Ocean is currently popular for. As Girl on Fire closes with “101,” Keys solemnly talks about being just another number in the game of love.
Girl on Fire is the perfect album to start off your holiday celebration.