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R&B - Released June 5, 2001 | J Records - Legacy

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R&B - Released October 11, 2005 | J Records

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R&B - Released December 2, 2003 | J Records

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R&B - Released December 15, 2009 | J Records

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. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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R&B - Released November 9, 2007 | J Records

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R&B - Released November 26, 2012 | RCA Records Label

After the release of The Element of Freedom, her fourth consecutive chart-topping and platinum studio release, Alicia Keys not only married Swizz Beatz and became a mother but stacked collaborations with Drake, Kanye West, Marsha Ambrosius, Jennifer Hudson, Emeli Sandé, and Miguel. The collaborative spirit continues all the way through Girl on Fire, an album sporting a list of around 20 co-composers and nearly a dozen co-producers. A small but significant portion of the album has Keys somewhere in the past, grappling with or sifting through a stifling relationship. That's the way the album begins, with the alternately reserved and cathartic ballad "Brand New Me," one of three songs written with Sandé: "You look surprised your words don't burn me anymore." Two of the better songs, both of which feature assistance from John Legend, immediately follow and are closer to Keys' personal breakthrough. The first one, "When It's All Over," is a gushing testimonial over a dizzying Jamie xx co-production -- a clash between acoustic jazz, synth funk, and minimal techno that will either thrill or repel. "Listen to Your Heart," the second one, is mechanical yet plush and dials it back for Keys to embrace new love; it's one of Rodney Jerkins' unassuming yet stunning beats. After a pair of bombastic anthems -- including the oddly written "Girl on Fire," which has her "living in a world, and it's on fire," then "on top of the world" with "both feet on the ground" and "our head in the clouds" -- the album loses its grip. It hits a low with "Not Even the King," an obvious "love is worth more than money" ballad, and "That's When I Knew," a tender back-porch ballad presumably about Mr. Keys. (If the mind wanders, consider that the object of affection is the man behind hits such as "Money, Cash, Hoes" and "It's Me B*#@hes.") Once "101," the last listed track, fades out, a chaotic outro fades in and peaks with Keys screaming, in a celebratory and defiant manner, "Hallelujah -- kicked down the door!" It ends the first chapter of her new life with several exclamation points, but it's missing one. The album could have used some swift and uplifting neo-disco like "Million Dollar Bill" or "Everybody Needs Love," exceptional songs that Keys and her husband wrote and produced for Whitney Houston and Jennifer Hudson. ~ Andy Kellman
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R&B - Released November 18, 2012 | RCA Records Label

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Soul - Released February 12, 2018 | Focus Ent.

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R&B - Released June 23, 2013 | RCA Records Label

First aired ten days prior to the release of Girl on Fire, Alicia Keys' VH1 Storytellers program featured six songs. While this set expands the set to 11 songs, it does not present the full performance. Heavy editing was involved; certain portions of Keys' dialogue is hacked up, crowd noise is unnaturally lowered and raised in volume, and there is little evident effort to make the songs flow. Keys' first words here, the lead-in to "No One," are "We were at the end of the album, and it was finished, and…" -- so it provokes the feeling of walking into the venue as the gig is in progress. Furthermore, much of her intro to the following "Brand New Me" was cut. For all its choppiness, VH1 Storytellers is enjoyably off-the-cuff, with Keys' anecdotes (including an extended tale about the making of "You Don't Know My Name") and remarks ("I love an acoustic guitar!") often delivered as she and her band are playing. The five songs that didn't air are relevant, including a hot "Fallin'" that could have easily been overcooked, and an "Un-thinkable (I'm Ready)" that packs a heavier rhythmic punch than the studio version. Ironically, this is less showy than 2005's Unplugged, and it's better for it. ~ Andy Kellman
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R&B - Released September 11, 2007 | J Records

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R&B - Released July 1, 2016 | RCA Records Label

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R&B - Released September 22, 2009 | J Records

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R&B - Released September 15, 2014 | RCA Records Label

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R&B - Released April 7, 2017 | RCA Records Label

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R&B - Released May 4, 2016 | RCA Records Label

R&B - Released June 17, 2016 | RCA Records Label

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R&B - Released February 13, 2019 | RCA Records Label

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R&B - Released August 12, 2008 | J Records

This Japan-only remix mini-album was produced to coincide with American R&B artist Alicia Keys' performance at the 2008 Summer Sonic music festival. Remixes include U.K. dubstep duo the Wideboys' take on "Teenage Love Affair" and Salaam Remi's remix of "No One." In addition, Kanye West and Black Eyed Peas both come up with their separate versions of "If I Ain't Got You." ~ Ian Martin
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R&B - Released July 29, 2008 | J Records

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R&B - Released July 12, 2016 | RCA Records Label

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