Review: Alicia Keys, ‘The Element of Freedom’

Review: Alicia Keys, ‘The Element of Freedom’: Aidin Vaziri | The woman who regularly outclasses her peers on the pop charts could probably afford to loosen the brim of her hat just a smidgen. On her meticulously crafted fourth album, Alicia Keys covers the usual spectrum of empowerment anthems (“Wait Til You See My Smile”), blousy piano ballads (“How It Feels to Fly”) and the odd Prince-inspired jam (“This Bed”) to satisfying, if slightly stifling, effect. But it’s only when the 28-year-old New York singer-songwriter sounds most unlike herself, say, on the thumping, Beyoncé-abetted “Put It in a Love Song” or lusty future funk detour “Un-thinkable (I’m Ready)” that she actually sounds like someone you might want to get to know.

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