Context – Monday morning gaming

‘Cause you know, what else would I be doing with a day off?  #ThanksMLK

Everyone should love Alicia Keys, especially this album.  I mean we all have like 3 Alicia Keys songs that we love, she’s been around long enough where if you aren’t super familiar with her discography (like I am) and you put on a list of her greatest hits, you’ll constantly be thinking “oh yea, this bangin’ hit is hers too.”

Considering I haven’t really been listening to the radio as of late and this album just came out in October, I’m not sure that any of these songs sounded all that familiar to me.  This was excellent, as it prevented me from being taken out of the album to listen to the next big charting tune.  I’m thinking of like the first time you heard Taylor Swift’s 1989 and you’re grooving to this slammin’ album and then “Shake it Off” comes on.  Now “Shake it Off” is a great song, but it feels different than the rest of the album.  Combine that with the fact that it was the single leading up to the album’s release, and it’s totally a detracting moment in the album.  Maybe distracting is a better word.  It stands out, is all I’m saying.  And Here, at least to me, didn’t have this same phenomenon occur.

Maybe because it’s only because I listen to Alicia Keys sometimes on the radio, but this album seemed fiercer and more political than her usual fare.  Political may be the wrong word, but it’s socially aware and not afraid to have the tough talk.  I’m thinking of the first few tracks and the interlude discussing women’s stretch marks.  Not the kind of thing I’m used to hearing on an album, but most certainly a pleasant surprise.  Even the cover can be considered a statement: the naked woman on the cover (is that Keys?  I have no idea what she looks like) is un-apologetically black with her big hair and dark skin on full display.  But her body isn’t overtly sexualized either, despite her nudity.  She’s just hanging out, being her baller self.  I don’t know, I don’t feel like there are many pictures of black women in wide-circulation like this.  I’m probably punching above my weight here in terms of interpretation–my semiotic chops are rusty.

I feel like not everyone loves Alicia Keys, and after some rosy glasses and a positive attitude post Here, I feel like everyone should love her.  Or at least respect her.  But in that way God-fearing Christians respect God, which is to say that they love Her.