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Diary of Alicia Keys [Germany Bonus CD]
     

Diary of Alicia Keys [Germany Bonus CD]

by Alicia Keys
 

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Since Alicia Keys' 2001 debut album, Songs in A Minor, was ever so slightly overpraised, expectations for her second album, 2003's The Diary of Alicia Keys, were ever so slightly too high. Songs in A Minor not only kicked off a wave of ambitious new neo-soul songsters, it fit neatly into the movement of ambitious yet classicist new female

Overview

Since Alicia Keys' 2001 debut album, Songs in A Minor, was ever so slightly overpraised, expectations for her second album, 2003's The Diary of Alicia Keys, were ever so slightly too high. Songs in A Minor not only kicked off a wave of ambitious new neo-soul songsters, it fit neatly into the movement of ambitious yet classicist new female singer/songwriters who ranged from the worldbeat-inflected pop of Nelly Furtado to the jazzy Norah Jones, whose success may not have been possible if Keys hadn't laid the groundwork with such soulful work as her hit "Fallin'." Such success at such a young age, even if deserved, can be too much too soon, since young songwriters showered with praise and riches may find it hard to see the world outside of their own cocoon. The very title of The Diary of Alicia Keys -- at once disarmingly simple and self-important -- suggests that Keys, like Furtado, took her stardom a little too seriously and felt compelled to present her world view unfiltered, dispensing with artistic ambiguities and leaving each song as a portrait of Alicia Keys, the woman as a young artist. As she somewhat bafflingly says in her liner notes, "these songs are like my daily entrees," which likely means that these were indeed intended to play like unedited entries in a journal, a goal that she's fulfilled quite successfully, even if it does mean that the album often plays as a diary, leaving listeners in the role of observers instead of seeing themselves in the songs. This was a problem on Furtado's nearly simultaneously released Folklore, but Keys trumps her peer in one key way -- musically, this is a seamless piece of work, with a sultry slow groove that emphasizes her breathy, seductive voice and lush soulfulness. Tonally, this is ideal late-night romantic music, even when the tempos are kicked up a notch, as on the blaxploitation-fueled "Heartburn," yet beneath that sensuous surface there is some crafty, complex musicality, particularly in how Keys blurs lines between classic soul, modern rhythms, jazz, pop melodies, and singer/songwriter sensibility. It's an exceptionally well-constructed production, and as a sustained piece of sonic craft; it's not just seductive, it's a good testament to Keys' musical strengths (which can even withstand Andre Harris and Vidal Davis' irritating squeaky voice production signature on "So Simple"). What the album lacks are songs as immediate as "Fallin'" or as compelling as "A Woman's Worth," and that, combined with her insular outlook, is where Diary comes up short and reveals that it is indeed merely a second album. Such is the problem of arriving with a debut as fully formed as Songs in A Minor at such a young age -- listeners tend to expect more from the sequel, forgetting that this an artist still in her formative stages. So, those expecting another album where Keys sounds wise beyond her years will bound to be disappointed by The Diary of Alicia Keys, since her writing reveals her age in a way it never did on the debut. Yet that is a typical problem with sophomore efforts, and while this is a problem, it's one that is outweighed by her continually impressive musical achievements; they're enough to make The Diary worth repeated listens, and they're enough to suggest that Keys will continue to grow on her third album. [This German version of the album includes an additional CD of bonus material.]

Product Details

Release Date:
10/19/2004
Label:
J Records Europe
UPC:
0828766323122
catalogNumber:
663231

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Alicia Keys   Primary Artist,Piano,Keyboards,Background Vocals,Clavinet,fender rhodes,Synthesizer Piano
Artie "Blues Boy" White   Guitar
Sanford Allen   Violin,Concert Master
Elijah Baker   Bass
Julien Barber   Viola
Katreese Barnes   Background Vocals
Pablo Batista   Percussion
Fred Cash   Bass
Robert Chausow   Viola
Ray Chew   Conductor
Barry Finclair   Viola
Eileen Folson   Cello
Stanley Hunte   Violin
Cindy Mizelle   Background Vocals
Timothy Christian Riley   Piano
Joe Romano   Horn
Willie Weeks   Bass
Richard Brice   Viola
Avril Brown   Violin
Artie Reynolds   Bass
Dale Stuckenbruck   Violin
Maxine Roach   Viola
Marisol Espada   Cello
Marion Pinheiro   Violin
Alexander Vselensky   Violin
Caryl Paisner   Cello
Ronnie Drayton   Guitar
Xin Zhao   Violin
Jessica Wilson   Background Vocals
Onree Gill   Hammond Organ,fender rhodes
Arcel Vickers   Organ
Lori Miller   Violin
Andricka Hall   Background Vocals
Steve Jordan   Drums
L.C. Green   Background Vocals
Paul Alexandre John   Drums
Harold Lilly   Background Vocals
Sharief Hobley   Guitar
Gwendolyn Laster   Violin
Jerimiah "Jermaine" Paul   Background Vocals
Ricky Quinones   Guitar
John Legend   Background Vocals
Erika Rose   Background Vocals
Taneisha Smith   Background Vocals
Denise Stoudmire   Background Vocals
Melissa Meell   Cello

Technical Credits

Burt Bacharach   Composer
J.R. Bailey   Composer
Tony Black   Engineer
Sam Hopkins   Composer
Ray Chew   String Arrangements,String Conductor
Hal David   Composer
Gregory Isaacs   Composer
Melvin Kent   Composer
Pam Sawyer   Composer
Andre Harris   Composer,Producer,Instrumentation
Ann Mincieli   Engineer
Kanye West   Composer
Vidal Davis   Composer,Producer,Instrumentation
Peter Edge   Executive Producer
Rich Harrison   Composer
Alicia Keys   Composer,Producer,Executive Producer,Instrumentation
L.C. Green   Composer
Harold Lilly   Composer
Vincent Dilorenzo   Engineer
Chris LeBeau   Producer
Candice Nelson   Composer
Erika Rose   Composer
Taneisha Smith   Composer
Walter W. Millsap   Composer

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