Review: Alicia Keys, ‘Girl on Fire’

Review: Alicia Keys, ‘Girl on Fire’: Aidin Vaziri | Alicia Keys shifted into full-tilt pop mode on her last album, 2009’s “Element of Freedom,” which boasted big-ticket melodies and friends like Jay-Z and Beyonce. On her first outing as a wife and mother, the 31-year-old songwriter takes a step back with “Girl on Fire.” Taking her sonic cues from the glitzy torch songs of British electronic outfit the XX, Keys goes introspective on sedated songs like “Fire We Make,” a breathy duet with fellow neo-soul veteran Maxwell, and the album’s clanging centerpiece, “When It’s All Over,” which features a cameo from her 2-year-old son, Egypt. Nicki Minaj’s antics are kept to a minimum on the title track, while the standout moments (the Frank Ocean-penned “One Thing” and barely there “101”) are also its most serene.

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