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Songs In A Minor

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iTunes Review

In an entertainment era driven by hype and ego, the runaway popularity of Alicia Keys' 2001 debut Songs In A Minor was truly heartening. The 20 year-old classically-trained singer/songwriter won a huge audience with an understated yet potent blend of classic R&B, contemporary hip-hop and melodic pop. Onthese largely self-written, produced and arranged tracks, she keeps things real and intimate, singing with a restraint that only underscores her passion. With her sparse piano chords serving as underpinning, she adds atmospheric jazz("Butterflyz"), 1970s symphonic soul ("Rock Wit U") and tropical Latin rhythms ("Mr, Man," a duet with Jimmy Cozier) to the mix. Keys comes on sweet with a hint of venom on "Girlfriend" and offers a tough-minded ode to survival on "The Life." She teeters on the edge of desperation but retains her dignity on her cover of Prince's "How Come You Don't Call Me," one of the album's best tracks. Just as impressive is "Fallin," an elegant blues number with a mesmerizing hook. In "Caged Bird," the closing track, Keys hints at the suffering behind her songs. Whatever her sources of inspiration, Keys transformed them into something enduringly beautiful on Songs In A Minor.

Customer Reviews

A powerful debut by a powerful voice

It's hard to believe she was so young and relatively new to the game, but the quality of this album is without question. A womans worth and Fallin are now among my favourite r n b tracks, although I would recommend the whole album.


R&B CLASSIC A must own for all music fans. Fallin' is one of my all time favourite songs. Produced beautifully fresh, this album establishes her as one of the greatest voices of the world.

Wonderful Debut

After having been transferred to J Records by Clive Davis, Alicia wasted no time in submitting an album of songs which she had had stockpiled for a while ("Butterflyz" was written by Alicia when she was 14 years old), and the songs all express a deep and yet playful emotion. There is the playful flirting of "Girlfriend", the Isaac-Hayes-flavoured "Rock Wit U" and of course, the classic and irresistable "Fallin'", certainly one of the songs of the decade. Through it all, Alicia communicates an attitude of being totally in control of what she is singing and her stunning piano arrangements. The only things wrong with this album is that the lyrics can be a bit cliched ("The Life" and "Mr.Man"), and I am also worried that Alicia has peaked too soon. If any of her albums can match this effort, then she is adding to her superstar quality. If you only buy one Alicia Keys album, this is it.


Born: 25 January 1981 in New York, NY

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Alicia Keys became an international star through her singular mix of classic and contemporary R&B. Behind the number one pop hit "Fallin," her debut album, Songs in A Minor, sold more than 50,000 copies during its first day of availability in 2001 and eventually moved over ten million units worldwide, thus setting the stage for the then-20-year-old's long career. She was just behind D'Angelo, and ahead of Norah Jones, as the second singer, songwriter, and keyboardist to top the Billboard 200 during...
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