Songs in A Minor CD Record

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Songs in A Minor

1. Piano & I
2. Girlfriend
3. How Come You Don't Call Me
4. Fallin'
5. Troubles
6. Rock Wit U
7. A Woman's Worth
8. Jane Doe
9. Goodbye
10. The Life
11. Mr. Man (duet with Jimmy Cozier)
12. Never Felt This Way (interlude)
13. Butterflyz
14. Why Do I Feel So Sad
15. Caged Bird
16. Fallin' Remix(feat. Busta Rhymes & Rampage)
17. A Woman's Worth (Remix)

In the crowded world of female R&B you need a unique selling point. Songs in A Minor's creator Alicia Keys is no different. She plays the piano. She's classically trained. She was a child prodigy. And at 20 years she's incredibly soulful, harking back to the old-skool R&B of Aretha Franklin and even further to that of Nina Simone, with a very strong dose of James Brown thrown in (the fantastic "Fallin'" is a dead ringer for "It's a Man's World"). This retro-ism is further reinforced in her collaboration with 70s soul legend Isaac Hayes on "Rock Wit U". However this reliance on strong historical figures is as much a problem as an asset. In truth this fine talent is being plucked too early. At 20 she's hardly lived enough life to find herself. While she's got a great voice and exquisite musical skills this album lacks the type of individuality that shines so strongly in artists such as Erykah Badu, Jill Scott or India.Aria. This is perhaps why Keys (surely an invented name) has been well hooked up. Jermaine Dupri, Prince and Brian McKnight are all involved in the song writing process. There's a lot of classically trained artists out there, from R Kelly to MJ Cole, but as this shows it's no guarantee of success. There are a few tracks on Songs... that hit the right chord but there's some bum notes too. --Jake Barnes

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