The Element of Freedom

The Element of Freedom

4.5 40
by Alicia Keys
     
 

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Don't mistake the presence of Jay-Z and Beyoncé on Alicia Keys' fourth album as evidence that the singer/songwriter is burrowing into modern R&B -- take it instead as evidence of the rarefied company Keys keeps, her status as a superstar so solidified that the only cameos possible are R&B/hip-hop elite. Superstars are…  See more details below

Overview

Don't mistake the presence of Jay-Z and Beyoncé on Alicia Keys' fourth album as evidence that the singer/songwriter is burrowing into modern R&B -- take it instead as evidence of the rarefied company Keys keeps, her status as a superstar so solidified that the only cameos possible are R&B/hip-hop elite. Superstars are often given leeway to do anything they want, and so it is on The Element of Freedom, where Keys dials back the outward expansion of As I Am and turns inward, creating a clean, small-scale collection of ballads and Prince-inspired pop. Always apparent on Alicia's albums, that Prince influence is underscored by how she's swapped the retro-soul instrumentation of her earliest music for electronics, but she's retained the warmth, the throwback sensibility and, especially, a sense of reserve, never getting too heated or gauche. This does mean the Prince elements feel more NPG than Revolution, but Keys trademark always has been an easy elegance. On The Element of Freedom, that elegance is so easy it borders on the sleepy, with Keys' understatement undercutting livelier numbers -- chief among them the bubbly Beyoncé duet "Put It in a Love Song "-- so they play as ballads. This isn't a complaint so much as a characteristic: her voice may crack on "Love Is My Disease," but Keys never gets gritty, she remains reserved, never letting her singing or arrangements obscure the melodies or the classy veneer of the entire proceedings. All this determined detachment keeps The Element of Freedom from packing a primal, passionate punch, but there is charm in Alicia's enveloping, quiet cool: she may never break a sweat, but she knows how to sustain a sultry, not necessarily sexy, mood, and she does so here quite fetchingly.

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Editorial Reviews

Entertainment Weekly - Leah Greenblatt
What Keys' often-banal lyrics lack, her quicksilver voice carries: bluesy and subterranean on the atmospheric opener, ''Love Is Blind''; pure honeyed uplift on ''Wait 'Til You See My Smile'' and ''That's How Strong My Love Is''; ragged with longing on ''Love Is My Disease,'' a stirring semisequel to her '07 smash ''No One.'' [A-]

Product Details

Release Date:
12/15/2009
Label:
J-Records
UPC:
0886974657125
catalogNumber:
746571

Tracks

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Alicia Keys   Primary Artist,Synthesizer,Piano,Keyboards,Vocals,Background Vocals,Moog Synthesizer,fender rhodes,Wurlitzer,Moog Bass,Hammond B3
Paul Pesco   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar
Carlos Alomar   Electric Guitar
Roger Hambrick   Choir Director
Conrad Robinson   Choir Director
John Jubu Smith   Electric Guitar
Steve Wolf   Drums
Steve Mostyn   Piano,Bass Guitar,Moog Bass
Ron Haney   Electric Guitar
Jeff Bhasker   Synthesizer,Keyboards
Toby Gad   Guitar,Keyboards
Davide Rossi   Strings,Violin,Cello,Viola
Noah Shebib   Keyboards
Jeff Gitelman   Electric Guitar
Billy Kraven   Background Vocals
Shux   Keyboards

Technical Credits

Bert Keyes   Composer
Conrad Robinson   Management
Sylvia Robinson   Composer
Shawn Carter   Composer
Ann Mincieli   Engineer
Swizz Beatz   Producer,drum programming
Kerry Brothers   Composer,Producer,Executive Producer,drum programming
Peter Edge   Executive Producer
Steve Mostyn   Composer
Alicia Keys   Composer,Producer,Executive Producer,Concept
Kasseem Dean   Composer
Patrick "Plain Pat" Reynolds   Composer,drum programming
Angela Hunte   Composer
Miki Tsutsumi   Engineer
Jeff Bhasker   Composer,Producer,drum programming
Toby Gad   Composer,Producer,Engineer
Jeanine McLean Griffin   Management
Jeff Robinson   Executive Producer,Management
Davide Rossi   String Arrangements
Noah Shebib   Composer,Producer,Engineer,drum programming
Dave Kutch   Mastering
Stuart White   Engineer
Shuckburgh   Composer
Melini Smith   Composer
Janeït Sewell-Ulepic   Composer
Shux   Programming,Producer

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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The Element of Freedom 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 40 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She By Far Outdid Herself. Alicia Keys Is Amazing! And This Album Proves It
Ms_Williams More than 1 year ago
Alicia Keys took listeners on a musical journey with her creativity, expression and growth in The Element of Freedom. I love this album! Her music is so pure and heartfelt. Alicia Keys continues to make progress so gracefully throughout each album.
MemphisHAK More than 1 year ago
If you like Alicia Keys this is a great new CD! The CD gets better the more you listen to it. The track with Beyonce is guaranteed to be a radio hit!
Edu More than 1 year ago
not just beautiful but talented too. not to mention kind and REAL. another great album
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
OMG!!! This CD is beyond amazing. I'm just stunned at how good it is. And it's good in such an unexpected way. She takes you to a different place. When I went to purchase the cd at B&N the sales rep told me that she'd been hearing that it's an AMAZING cd and I was like really because I hadn't really heard much about it at all. OH MY GAWD! She just blew me away with this one.I sincerely hope she gets all of the accolades & awards because she is so very deserving with this outing. Well done Miss!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love her music!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Alicia Keys is such an innovative artist. Every new album pushes her to a new level.
barrerahector More than 1 year ago
Alicia went deep soul with this album producing some great hits.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is my all time favorit artist. I have been following her progress ever since her broke out CD. This woman is very talented and wish her well.
EasyListeningLisa More than 1 year ago
What a pleasure to be entertained by someone who can both sing well & play beautifully! On Alicia Keys' latest CD, The Element of Freedom, she definitely saves the best for last on Track 14 entitled Empire State of Mind. This song immediately transports the listener to New York City as you feel the energy swell just like it really does in the Big Apple. More than anything else though, this song inspires you to make all your dreams come true. Other great numbers on this CD include Love is Blind, Un-Thinkable (I'm Ready) & Distance and Time. Next time you're ready to sit down,unwind & be swept away, you owe it to yourself to give Alicia's newest CD a listen.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have every Alicia Keys CD. They are all great but this is her best CD yet. My favorite tracks are Doesn't Mean Anything, Try Sleeping with a Broken Heart, Wait Till You See My Smile, That's How Strong My Love Is, Un-Thinkable (I'm Ready), Like the Sea, and This Bed. The only song I don't like is Put it In A Love Song because I'm not a Beyonce fan. Get this CD!!!
librachic More than 1 year ago
When i bought this album, it was because i loved 'Empire State of Mind part 2 Broken Down' but as soon as i listened to the rest of the album i found myself enjoying all the beautiful,relaxing ballads,Alicia's voice is one of a kind and i feel that her voice is wonderful and full of soul.I would definitely recommend it to everyone.
Dolcevita256 More than 1 year ago
I can honestly say that I love every song on this album and that is really hard to find in a CD. I had this CD in my car and I let my boyfriend borrow it to drive his friends to a bachelor party in Atlantic City and he told me the groom-to-be rocked out to the CD playing it over and over with one of the songs becoming his weekend anthem. The same guy was over watching basketball with my boyfriend and he asked if he could borrow it for his weekend golf trip. That's how good this CD is - grown men are asking to borrow it.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love "Unthinkable (I'm Ready)" and "Try Sleeping With a Broken Heart". I love the emotional element in her songs on this CD. It reminds somewhat me of some of Mary J. Blige's material. It's a beautiful work of art! Four stars.
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