It has been a while but Alicia Keys is finally coming back. After the release of the single and album Girl On Fire in 2012, she is ready for the next step. On the 7th of May she will perform new music during Saturday Night Live and at the end of that month she will open the UEFA Champions League final. A new single might launch this week, but that news is not officially confirmed. All that is certain is that Alicia Keys is actually coming back with a new album and we celebrate this with the 10 best songs she has released so far!
10. Un-thinkable (I’m Ready) (2009)
Not one of her most well known singles, but this is such a beautiful track. Her vocals have never sounded sweeter before and you can just feel her emotions coming through your speakers. It is all so soulful and well produced. Polished, but emotionally raw at the same time. Wait, why wasn’t this an international smash hit again?
09. Karma (2003)
‘Karma’ is for sure one of the most uptempo things Keys, who is probably most praised for her piano driven ballads, has ever recorded. The beat is sick and perfectly underlines the feisty attitude of the lyrics. The ‘what goes around, comes around’ parts in the chorus are catchy in an almost hypnotic way. Still a tune and a half when you listen to it in 2016!
08. A Woman’s Worth (2001)
This was the single that confirmed Alicia Keys’ status as new born super star after the release of ‘Fallin”. Both vocally and lyrically she showed she is not one to mess with. The message of the song sure earned her a lot of female fans. Favourite moment? That heartfelt ‘ooooh!’ before the chorus kicks in of course!
07. You Don’t Know My Name (2003)
Releasing an over five minutes long tune with a lengthy phone conversation as middle eight, for first single of your second album is quite a bold move and we love Alicia for that. She shows here how she is a master of vividly telling stories in her lyrics. At the same time the old school production of the tune with a lot of little choirs and piano riffs, early work from Kanye West, is the cherry on top.
06. Girl On Fire (2012)
One could argue that ‘Girl On Fire’ was a lazy single choice or too poppy (if such a thing even exists) for Keys’ standard, but no one can deny the power of that chorus. It is so, so catchy and right on the money back when it was released. ‘Girl On Fire’ was the perfect way to get the young generation, who might not have grown up with her earlier work, on board and the result was a worldwide hit. Not one of her most adventurous singles, but undeniably well written.
05. No One (2007)
‘No One’ is a great example of how a simple chorus can be very effective at the same time. The repetition of the title works magically and her vocals, especially during the verses, are incredible. The upbeat production took this composition to an even higher level and no wonder why you still hear ‘No One’ on the radio a lot these days.
04. Empire State of Mind
The chorus to ‘Empire State of Mind’ might be the most iconic melody Alicia has ever put her name to. Whether you are talking about the version where she is just the featuring artist next to Jay Z’s raps or the acoustic one she recorded on her own, her chorus makes the whole track. She basically gave New York its very own anthem and this track will not be forgotten anytime soon.
The world first got to know Alicia Keys as the girl with the braids who sung her heart out on ‘Fallin”. She was different from anyone out there at that time with her musicality in bucketloads and extremely soulful vocals. Right from the release of this outstanding first single one could tell she would become a worldwide super star and this track has this timeless quality about it. It will never get old!
02. If I Ain’t Got You
This must be one of the sweetest love songs ever written. The message is universal and spoke to the hearts of many. A long list of covers and talent show versions followed, but no one seemed to achieve that same kind of warmth and honesty that Alicia brings to the table here vocally. A true classic!
01. Try Sleeping With A Broken Heart
This might be a little unexpected as it was not one of the biggest hits of her career, but let’s face it, this is one amazing tune. It goes from heartbreakingly sad, to sensual and then to hope giving in the chorus. The production is lush, that beat intense and her vocal delivery is understated and powerful at the same time. Her whispering tone in the verses is to die for. ‘Try Sleeping With A Broken Heart’ was criminally underrated in the charts, so I am glad I can give it some well deserved love here!
Missing one of your favourites? Head over to A Bit of Pop Music’s Spotify to check out an extended top playlist with 20 songs, including Alicia’s best album tracks!