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|1. De Novo Adagio (Intro)|
|2. Brand New Me|
|3. When It's All Over|
|4. Listen To Your Heart|
|1. New Day|
|2. Girl On Fire - Alicia Keys feat. Nicki Minaj|
|3. Fire We Make - Alicia Keys & Maxwell|
|1. Tears Always Win|
|2. Not Even The King|
|3. That's When I Knew|
|2. One Thing|
For all its big beats and stellar collaborations (and there are many: Frank Ocean, Emile Sandé, Darkchild, Babyface and Salaam Remi to name a few), the core of the album is Keys’ remarkable voice and simple songwriting. The tone is set by the piano introduction, a sombre reflective piece, and then the defiant, nose-thumbing Brand New Me which makes Keys’ stance clear when she sings: “It’s been a while, I’m not who I was before.”
Girl on Fire is classic Keys at her most commercial. The beautiful, sensual Fire We Make, a duet with Maxwell, is all muted horns and synth bass, a textbook quiet storm. The more you hear this track, the deeper you fall in love with it. Tears Always Win, co-written by Bruno Mars, is a convincing soul/gospel pastiche, played with a small band.
Not Even the King, written with Sandé, is probably the key track. Shorn of all bangs and crashes, it is a straightforward piano ballad, and although exploring the well-worn analogy of how being rich in love is better than all the world’s money (“Your arms around me / Worth more than a Kingdom”), it is strangely and sweetly affecting.
The credits say that Girl on Fire was “conceptualised and produced” by Keys. When you look at other artists of a similar ilk, you know that she hasn’t just dropped in to record with the latest producer. As a result, Girl on Fire is a smart album, maintaining the high standards set on The Element of Freedom. It showcases her as a maturing performer and keeps her there or thereabouts alongside Beyoncé as the world’s leading contemporary stylist of mainstream RnB.
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Great. She's succeeded in moving on but maintaining her very high standard.Published 1 month ago by Dear Darling Dickie