Mrs. Alicia Keys is classically talented on the piano, no doubt about that. But I have always felt like her wonderful piano playing was more like a support role rather then attempting to shine like a star that it should be in most of her songs. So, when her latest album Girl On Fire opened up with a classical instrumental track, "De Novo Adegio", my excitement immediately skyrocketed to heaven. Sadly, after listening to the entire album several times now, this is still the case. This is not suggesting that the album is not good. It is quite good actually. Possibly the best since her debut, Songs In A Minor, and I think she is definitely back on the right track. It's subtle yet brimming with confidence. It even has reggae flavored songs such as "New Day" and Limitedless", and it works. Overall, it definitely feels sexy, like tuning into an adult contemporary radio station while driving around town. For me, this album feels like a sophisticated night out of adults, dressed extra fancy, champagne in hand with grace, a soft party with respect and etiquette. Sure, this kind of party is enjoyable once in a while but I personally prefer something more raw and spontaneous, which I'm still waiting for Alicia Keys to do with her music and piano talent. She's definitely capable. That's just like, my opinion, man. With that said, my favorite tracks on this album are piano intimate ones: "Tears Always Win", "Not Even the King", "Brand New Me", and "De Novo Adegio". One major problem for me though is Nicki Minaj.... on the title track "Girl On Fire." She is probably the least matching collaboration artist for Alicia Keys. Bad move, Alicia. Overall, I'd give Girl On Fire somewhere between 3.5 to 4 stars, just because I know that her potential is higher and I don't crave to revisit the album as I should.
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