Alicia Keys, 'As I Am' (J)

8
As I Am
Critical Mass
Label: J

by Rodney Dugue

Amid the rehabs, rivalries, and youthful sproutings that characterize current R&B, this Grammy-winning singer/pianist has remained an untainted, immutable force. And on her melodically powerful third studio album, she matures into the matriarch of her genre. As I Am is less influenced by '70s soul than previous efforts, but more invested in melisma, vulnerability, and sour relationships ("Teenage Love Affair"). On the dreamy lullaby "Like You'll Never See Me Again," she ponders whether she'll be appreciated after a lover stops calling her name. Musically, at least, Keys has nothing to worry about -- with her ever-improving songwriting (especially on the soaring ballad "No One"), she'll be revered for years to come.

Now Hear This: Alicia Keys - "Like You'll Never See Me Again" WINDOWS MEDIA

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