The methods Alicia Keys used this time around to promote her album were different and at times awkward (see 2016 VMAS). Leading up to the album release there was more conversation about her make-up free look and her stint on The Voice than any of the promotional music she had put out. So Here had a pretty soft arrival.
Here is an experimental album for Keys. It’s a departure from the heavy, piano-driven anthems she’s put out in the past. I would call it spoken-word R&B.
It’s very 2016 in theme. Keys sings (and raps) about police violence, blended families, gender roles and civil rights.To me the album is like a stripped “woke” version of Keys last album Girl on Fire.
Good- Kill Your Mama, Illusion of Bliss, Blended Family, Girl Can’t Be Herself, More Than We Know, Holy War, In Common (Deluxe Edition), Hallelujah (Deluxe Edition)
Average- The Gospel, Pawn It All, She Don’t Really Care/1 Luv, Work on It
Bad-Where Do We Begin Now
The lyrics and subject matter are definitely the highlights of Here, while the production takes a backseat. But unfortunately, the lyrics aren’t enough to carry this project. I wouldn’t say that Here is boring, it’s just not very memorable. Cuts like “Kill Your Mama” and “Illusion of Bliss” shine above the rest. And I love the passion and rawness in Keys’ voice. She’s cussing, singing off key and pouring tons of emotion in every number, but overall Here is just a blur. Not a terrible Blur. But a blur nonetheless.