Track Review: Alicia Keys, ‘Hallelujah’
After a four-year hiatus, Alicia Keys seems to be on track to release her sixth studio album (excluding 2005’s Unplugged) judging by the releases of singles “In Common” and now “Hallelujah.” Over the years, Keys has changed or evolved musically – take your pick at which characterization fits best. While the neo-soul and hip-hop soul touches of her early albums Songs in A Minor and The Diary of Alicia Keys aren’t extinct, Keys has certainly embraced pop more on her recent efforts.
Vocally, Keys has changed – evolved wouldn’t be appropriate here. Her pipes seem much coarser than they did on Songs or Diary. That point considered Keys was 20 years old when Songs was “kind of a big deal.” Now, the R&B diva yours truly once idolized is 35. Whoa – where did the time go?
Okay enough rambling about former crushes and weathered pipes. What about “Hallelujah” as a single? Well it’s definitely got good intentions if nothing else. After being truly mixed about the modern R&B of “In Common,” “Hallelujah” seems closer to being in Keys’ wheelhouse. Is this vintage Alicia Keys? No, but it certainly is thoughtful, emotional, and dramatic. Through her strained, sometimes cracking vocals, you can hear that Keys is putting her heart and soul into it and that certainly accounts for something. A bonus – the drum programming is great.
So, all in all, respectable, but not the second coming and likely not a ‘pop’ hit. Still, there’s something there.