By the time this long-awaited album saw its release date, most fans had probably read at least a couple of interviews with Alicia Keys in which she explained that first single, "No One"--a firestorm of a song clearly born of a sore heart and steeped in serious soul-searching, was about her decision to retreat from the obligations of stardom when she found out a loved one was in need of her care. The anecdote sticks not just because it explained the song so well--you can actually hear the pain, commitment, and determination in her sultry voice--but because it gets at what makes the woman behind the music so appealing. There's only one way R&B artists grow to become legends, and it's by drenching the words they sing with feeling (think Gladys Knight, Roberta Flack). The skeptical listener might have had her doubts before As I Am, but there's no mistaking it now: Alicia Keys is well on her way to sharing a category with them. This record radiates not just old-soul maturity, the kind Alicia fans say makes her modern rarity, but real soul. Vintage-leaning hooks and horns grab hold on "Where Do We Go from Here" and an assortment of other songs, but Keys can also get by just fine without them, as she proves on more pop-flavored numbers like "Lesson Learned," with John Mayer, and "Superwoman." The genres may be smearing, she seems to say, but bring them on: she won't shrink back. Her commitment is not to a single style but to what's stirring her soul. Because of it, she's moving R&B, or something like it, from the hips back to the heart. --Tammy La Gorce --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
Great CD. Some depressing songs, but mostly a good listen with upbeat tunes. Have enjoyed and have shared with others who went on to purchase their own.Published on June 21 2013 by Clinkdrew