http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/d77a3e4c57d31d0d17d7396f4e9a356f199c4ba5.jpg Songs in A Minor

Alicia Keys

Songs in A Minor

Rolling Stone: star rating
Community: star rating
5 3 0
June 25, 2001

Many young female singers court the tweenie market by exaggerating their girlish charms, but twenty-year-old Alicia Keys sings for adults. Showing a maturity beyond her years, this New York newcomer's largely self-produced debut suggests down-home R&B contemporaries like Jill Scott as well as yesteryear's soul sophisticates. She's not at the level of her heroes yet: Keys penned much of Songs in A Minor in high school, and the singing is more mature than the self-consciously retro arrangements and sometimes thin sonics. Still, there's no denying the serious early Aretha vibe permeating the current hit "Fallin' " or the authority with which Keys rips into Prince's beloved B-side ballad, "How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore." Jermaine Dupri's typically slinky "Girlfriend" steers her into contemporary hip-hop mode, while elsewhere, complex jazz harmonies and organic instrumentation complement her commanding presence. Keys is a discovery of pop impresario Clive Davis, and his orchestrating hand sometimes weighs heavily over this album; but Keys is never upstaged, and we're only beginning to see the depth of her talent.

Album Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.


    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories


    The Commodores | 1984

    The year after soul legends Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson died, songwriter Dennis Lambert asked members of the Commodores to give him a tape of ideas. "And the one from Walter Orange has this wonderful bass line," said co-writer Franne Golde. "Plus the lyric, 'Marvin, he was a friend of mine' ... Within 10 minutes, we had decided it should be something like a modern R&B version of 'Rock 'n' Roll Heaven,' and I just said, 'Nightshift.'" This tribute to the recently deceased musicians was the band's only hit without Lionel Richie, who had left for a solo career.

    More Song Stories entries »