Unplugged

On her first live album, Alicia Keys plays around with her mannered retro arrangements and turns out seven previously unrecorded songs. Hits such as "Fallin' " groove easily with just a hint of indulgent operatics, and on "Heartburn" Keys exploits the catch in her voice for a punch-and-jab session with her crack band. The guests don't do much to remedy the album's duller moments: Keys calls on Common, Mos Def and Damian Marley for the closing "Love It or Leave It Alone/Welcome to Jamrock," which is sort of like trying to spice up a cocktail party by trotting out Noam Chomsky. Unplugged's clear high point, however, is "Unbreakable," a new original and one of the best Seventies-sitcom themes never written. Amid a megacatchy chorus, Keys invokes famous black couples before deciding her love is just fine, once again sounding older than her years and perfectly round-the-way.