HERE by Alicia Keys, one step away from having finished

I've always liked Alicia Keys a lot, her way of singing and the personal philosophy that surrounds her; however, her album HERE baffles me. It is very good that artists want their creations to be heard as something very personal in terms of music and the way they are recorded, but I think there are limits and compromises with the quality with which an album is delivered for its massive distribution. There are moments in the lives of artists who may be able to afford to show their fans a very intimate part of their creative process and let them see the magic of playing with other musicians and how they can improvise and rehearse issues, but there are certain quality standards that today cannot be passed. Because one thing is to show something raw and direct and another thing is to be in a hurry to finish things and deliver them as they are. At no time am I saying that the themes are bad, although some are not good enough to have been included in HERE. Maybe the least I could criticize about the album HERE are the lyrics, which are really good, but the whole part that involves the musical composition, the arrangements, interpretation, and execution, sound mix, and care in the details, it leaves much to be desired. I honestly do not know how her fans have received it, but I'm sure it was not with the enthusiasm with which they have received previous albums. I do not think it was a good time for Alicia Keys, to show off a bit improvised or even irresponsible, for having released an album that seems to have gone from rehearsals to definite takes. It is like a step before having finished with all the concerns that were for the selection of songs and certain details of these and then proceed to the recording studio and print the seal of quality. It shows that she came with a huge amount of ideas, all of them converged in the rehearsals and were hardly given them shape. But it was necessary to discard what was not useful and to polish what sounded good. Of course, the sensitivity of the artist is present because when you are genuine, all you love is what you do, but after love and sensitivity comes the professionalism of everyone involved in the project, Alicia Keys mainly, to refine and give a luxurious finish to all the songs that, the audience will finally hear. Quality control, I think it is the missing ingredient and unfortunately for the singer, the damages from the commercial point of view and the preferences of the public sometimes cost a lot to revert it. It is a carelessness that no one should allow unless she does not care about things anymore. I think there are many ways to wait for a better time if you are not sure or do not have enough time and concentration to risk so much at a time when the music industry is ruthless, and the public's memory is so short they do not forgive the fact that the artists release for sale materials that are inconsequential or little taken care of in terms of the quality of what is heard.


As a musician, it is very difficult to overlook that which comes through the ear and does not sweeten it. Of course, I listen to R & B, Soul, Jazz, Hip-Hop and Rap, but maybe that's the problem. I listen to everything together, a set of ideas that stay in that, in ideas. No one would accept to buy a car with only the first layer of paint applied, we want it bright and perfectly finished and that is what I feel when listening to HERE. Apparently Alicia Keys declared on the occasion of this album that the inspiration for writing these songs had arrived in a very short period of time and that this was the process of recording these and for her misfortune, it shows on the album. The fact that inspiration comes as a hurricane does not mean that the treatment you give to these creations is as quickly as they arrived. There is a specific time for everything, and I think that to give them an appropriate finish should not be in a hurry. Inspiration is one thing and the process to give them an arrangement and a finish in the recording studio is necessarily a different and necessarily more prolonged one. Maybe she could have said that this was an album of sessions, and things would not have been as disappointing as having presented a record without good finishing. I repeat she could wait longer and have dedicated herself to the priorities imposed by her life at that moment (her pregnancy) so that later she could concentrate on giving us what on other occasions had been sublime. Because after listening again and again to most of the songs included in HERE, it gives the impression that she really did not care about the result of the album and all she wanted was to finish and dedicate herself to her things, which is valid in almost everything that has to do with our lives; however, and although it is hard to recognize, in the field of the music business, this is simply deadly.


In my opinion, there are three songs that perhaps save the reputation of Alicia Keys. This is "She Do not Really Care_1 Luv", "Blended Family (What You Do For Love)" feat. A$AP Rocky and "Holy War.” These three themes are perhaps what I would have expected; from the point of view of its finish and care in the arrangement and musicalization, in all themes that were included in this collection. They were probably the only songs that ended in real terms before the singer knew she was pregnant and wanted to end the engagement as soon as possible. I believe that something like this can be overcome by any artist that has the quality and professionalism of Alicia Keys; however, I have my doubts that the industry and the fans easily forgive a disinterest of this magnitude.

By: Jorge Diaz

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