Alicia Keys new album Girl On Fire went on sale this week, but whilst we wait for the midweek charts to come in, we have to wonder whether this might be an album too far for the talented singer? Keys has certainly had a stellar career, with three US album number ones and a further second spot for for her last LP The Element Of Freedom.
What’s been impressive about Keys career too is that, in comparison to some of her peers, she’s managed to do it without wholly succumbing to the media circus merry go-round, her team not constantly pushing her into the public eye and her talent as a musician often discussed over her personal life. Which is why it’s a shame to see some critics starting to tire of her, Girl On Fire getting a few ‘we’ve heard it all before’ comments in among a smattering of praise. Certainly for all her multi-million selling records in the past, in 2012 Keys is probably more prominent because of her duet with Jay-Z on 'Empire State Of Mind', a blockbuster hit that highlighted Keys long-known collaborative qualities.
It’d be a shame though if her talent in working with others has truly meant that Girl On Fire and her solo career suffers as a result. Even on this album, though, others like Emeli Sande (who co-wrote ‘Not Even The King’) are in the fray so it’s clear that creative partnerships are key to her even on her own material; a strong marketing campaign will probably ensure the record does decently regardless, but if what the critics say is true – and Girl On Fire is stale – then there won’t be many that won’t be desperate for a return to form for this stalwart singer.