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4.6 out of 5 stars
The Diary Of Alicia Keys
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Alicia has done it again. She proves that she has staying power and a shelf life that will last well after all her counterparts have fallen by the wayside. What this album shows is her continued maturity and her refusal to be labelled or targetted by mainstream media. She does her own thing and does not need to compete with anyone. In fact, I can't see any female singer even wanting to test her. I can see that the success of "You don't know my name" will surpass even Alicia's expectations. We can all confess to having a secret admirer but how many of us were brave enough to act on those feelings. What can I say - track after track the listener is constantly in a state of anticipation and the album never falls to satisfy that anticipation either. Well done and keep it up. She is a unique entertainer.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 25 January 2005
This heavily anticipated second instalment from New York's bright spark, upon first glance, is very good. The album starts off with an absence of the piano based ballads, and more edgy up-tempo material. 'Heartburn' is a strong energetic song, one of many tracks on the album that could make it as a single. We are treated to some vintage modern soul on 'If I Was Your Woman' and a stunning vocal performance. Then follows a magnificent chain of 3 ballads: "You Don't Know My Name", "If I Ain't Got You" and "Diary". These are the kind of soulful tracks, so moving in their emotion filled music and lyrics, you could find them on any female soul artist of the last few decade's greatest hits.
It seems Miss Keys is on the path to blossoming into a powerful soul singer and it is a joy to listen to her walk it with confidence. The second half of the album is somewhat shadowed by the might of those three tracks, however 'Slow Down' is chilled out and affectionate, and there is a yearning sincere vocal performance on 'When You Really Love Someone'.
This album is definitely a natural progression from 'Songs in A Minor', the confidence is still there and so are the heartfelt ballads, however we see a more fierce intense side to her music, which gives it an edge 'Songs In A Minor' was perhaps lacking.
'The Diary of Alicia Keys' is a must have for long time soul fans looking for hope in a new generation of artists, you will find it in Alicia Keys
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 5 December 2003
What a wondeful album Alicia Keys has come up with here, I pre-ordered it and recieved it the morning it was released (thanks amazon!!!!) and I can honeslty say I haven't listened to anything so great in my life, she's great at mixing smooth soul, hip-hop and brilliant piano playing all at once. And not only that she does it so good! A great talent!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 9 January 2004
Alicia Keys is one of the greatest singers I have ever heard. She is a true, quality musician; she can play the piano brilliantly and has a wonderful range of around 3 octaves, which only Aretha Franklin had. The only criticism i would make is that she shouldn't write all of her songs, as quite a lot of the songs on the album are 'nothing' songs- they don't have much melody to them. If shegot someone else to write some of her lyrics, she would be more highly recognisedand her albums would be even better. However there are 5 or 6 frighteningly good songs on this album, and i would definitely recommend it to any people who appreciate soul music or singers who can really sing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 15 January 2004
There is not a lot to say about The Diary of Alicia Keys,,,,, Why? What can you say about perfection? This CD will remain a classic when other artists are just waiting for their royalties. Her " You dont know my name" is one of the true "Soul" classics of our time and deserves to be right up there with the legends,,,Marvin Gaye, Al Green etc. This CD is magic. Sling the kids out, curl up in the chair and enjoy. Pure genius.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I brought this album on Saturday and since then I think I have listened to it around 11 times! I enjoy every song on the album, my favourites being Karma, If I aint got you and Diary. It includes songs with a good beat to them, but a lot of soul as well! I thouroughly enjoy her album and definatly advise you to buy it as it has made me smile constantly ever since i purchased it!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 12 December 2003
The fuss that greeted the arrival of Alicia Keys three years ago faded fast. Tellingly, however, the song that echoes from every reality pop show audition is her 'Fallin'. Her impact may not have been on a par with Beyonce's, but certainly her songs will last longer, because - like 'Fallin' - they are already coming to be recognized as certified classics.
She was groomed for five years before the release of her debut, the superb 'Songs In A Minor' - and it felt like a lifetime's work. Every note, rhyme and vocal nuance was perfect. Naturally, then, you get worried that she'll never be able to follow it up. But there's no need: 'The Diary Of Alicia Keys' is another masterpiece.
You knew everything was going to be alright when that elegant, magisterial lead-off single, 'You Don't Know My Name', was debuted on Top Of The Pops. Only someone as brazen and ridiculously talented as Keys could return after all this time with a sprawling six minute old skool soul ballad that has a bloody spoken word section right in the middle of it. It's a work of genius, though; and if, by the end of it you aren't totally in love with this girl, then you'll never know what love is.
It's a track that's matched again and again throughout 'The Diary...'. Keys approaches melodies like she's writing standards. In doing so, she walks a perilously thin line between 'timeless' and 'Whitney Houston', but thankfully never toppling toward the latter. 'If I Ain't Got You' is a perfect example - on first listen, it could be any one of a number of identikit '80s soul belters, but after the devastatingly pure chorus melody has burrowed into your cranium you're powerless to resist. This is Keys' strength - taking the blueprints of the past and pinpointing the moments that work, and jettisoning everything else.
Only 'Slow Down', with its lazy filch from the Isley Brothers' 'Summer Breeze', fails to impress. But it hardly registers on an album that throws out incredibly slinky r'n'b like 'So Simple', stormy, sexy torchsongs like 'Diary', and swaggering hip-hop like 'Heartburn'. With both Lauryn Hill and Jill Scott still AWOL, and Beyonce unable to cut it over an entire album, there's only one lady right now who can truly claim Aretha's crown.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 12 December 2006
This is the disc that confirmed my interest in Alicia Keys. She has a great voice and I like the kind of modern mix of classical with R&B, and whatever. For me the best tracks are "Harlem's Nocturne" and "Karma". Other tracks such "You Don't Know My Name" and "If I Ain't Got You" highlight her classical training, and are traditionally arranged. Overall this is an excellent disc with a lot of variety in style and content. Lets face it she has a fantastic voice and a lot of talent (plays, composes, and produces). I will admit I was initially a little disappointed with album as compared to her first, but increasingly I find I'm listening more and more to this disc. You need to play it a bit to really get into the mix of styles and it really comes into its own when you pump it through a top class stereo system. A quality addition to my collection.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 19 June 2008
1. Harlem's Nocturne. 9/10
2. Karma. 10/10
3. Heartburn. 10/10
4. If I Was Your Woman/Walk On By. 9/10
5. You Don't Know My Name. 10/10
6. If I Ain't Got You. 10/10
7. Diary. 9.5/10
8. Dragon Days. 10/10
9. Wake Up. 10/10
10. So Simple. 10/10
11. When You Really Love Someone. 9/10
12. Feeling U, Feeling Me. 8/10
13. Slow Down. 9/10
14. Samsonite Man. 10/10
15. Nobody Not Really. 9/10
16. Streets of New York. 7/10

OVERALL GRADE: 10/10
Some artists' sophomore albums are better than their debuts. The artsists which have achieved this this feat are:

Madonna; Like a Virgin
Michael Jackson: Thriller
Alicia Keys: The Diary of Alicia Keys
Kylie Minogue: Kylie
Goldfrapp: Black Cherry
Britney Spears: Oops, I Did It Again!...
Amy Winehouse: Back to Black

PS: The quote is from "Harlem's Nocturne". 1.43
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Being more of a book reviewer I often find it difficult to review music, as I think it's so much more a matter of individual taste. Just because I like it, it doesn't mean you will. But FWIW I do like Alicia Keys' music, I recently bought her more recent album AS I AM and liked it so much I rushed out and got this, her second one which came out in 2003. It hasn't dated at all (in my view) and it's a well put together and cohesive compilation of songs that just blend together perfectly. Can't think of a track I would skip as they're all good, my favourites so far are 'If I ain't got you' and 'You don't know my name', but really all 16 songs are excellent. I like female R&B and jazz, and Alicia Keys as a singer/songwriter is right up there with the best of them. Classy and very talented.
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