Empire State of Mind (Part II) Broken Down
Label: J Records
Alicia Keys is sailing through some serious storms on The Element of Freedom -- finding ways to feel more, love more, emote more, pitching into the depths, flying close to the sun, and then washing up, spent but still singing, on the shores of self-revelation. From the start, catharsis is the goal, and what feels overwrought at the outset becomes an admirable and affecting narrative as she weaves through songs that take on love (as life's goal) from all angles. Where does it end up? In New York, where reinvention, no matter what you've been through, is always possible. Bravo, Ms. Keys.