Alicia Keys imagines a world where “sex is holy and war is obscene” in the soulful “Holy War,” a track from her upcoming sixth LP, Here. “We can hate each other and fear each other/ Build these walls between each other,” she warns over delicate, fingerpicked acoustic guitar. “Baby, blow by blow and brick by brick/ Keep yourself locked in, yourself locked in.”
The track quietly builds its minimalist arrangement, incorporating finger snaps, echoing snares and snaking, reversed samples. Keys explores her dynamic vocal range, from a soft croon to a raspy, full-throated roar. “If war is holy and sex is obscene/ We’ve got it twisted in this lucid dream,” she preaches. “Baptized in boundaries, schooled in sin/ Divided by difference, sexuality and skin.”
Keys performed the ballad during her set for Keep a Child Alive’s recent Black Ball 2016 benefit concert. “I think it’s perfect for right now,” she says, introducing the song in a live clip.
Here, out November 4th, also features Keys’ brooding ballad “Back to Life,” heartfelt A$AP Rocky collaboration “Blended Family” and Latin-infused “In Common.” She released a celebratory, black-and-white clip for the latter track, in which dancers transform a soundstage into a block party.
The singer recently served as musical guest on Saturday Night Live, where she performed both “In Common” and new song “Hallelujah.” The latter track also appears on Here, the follow-up to 2012’s Girl on Fire.