Alicia Keys The Element of Freedom is a soulful and catchy album with pop and R&B influences. It is her fourth studio album which was released on December 11, 2009, under the J Records label. The album includes collaborations with famous artists like Beyoncé and includes hit singles like “Try Sleeping with a Broken Heart” and “Empire State of Mind (Part II) Broken Down.”
This album has a significant role in Alicia Keys’ career, as it marked her comeback after a three-year break from the music industry. In this article, we will discuss the tracks, production, themes, and lyrics of the album.
The album starts with the “Element of Freedom (Intro),” which is an instrumental piece that sets the tone for the rest of the album. The next track is “Love Is Blind,” a piano-driven ballad with lyrics that revolve around the theme of being blind in love.
The third track,
“Doesn’t Mean Anything,” is a classic Alicia Keys song that talks about the realization that success and material possessions do not always bring happiness. “Try Sleeping with a Broken Heart,” the fourth track, is a power ballad that deals with the heartache of a broken relationship.
“Wait Til You See My Smile”
is the fifth track, which is a more upbeat song with lyrics that encourage people to stay strong in the face of adversity. The sixth track, “That’s How Strong My Love Is,” is a cover of Otis Redding’s classic song with a modern twist.
“Un-Thinkable (I’m Ready)”
is the seventh track, which is a collaboration with Drake. This song talks about the difficulties and challenges faced in an interracial relationship. “Love is My Disease” is the eighth track, which is a piano-driven ballad that talks about the addictive nature of love.
“Like the Sea”
is the ninth track, which is a slow and melancholic song with lyrics that speak about the loneliness of a long-distance relationship. The tenth track, “Put It in a Love Song,” is a collaboration with Beyoncé and is an upbeat and catchy song that celebrates the power of love.
is the eleventh track, which is a slow and sensual song with lyrics that talk about the intimate moments shared between two lovers. The twelfth track, “Distance and Time,” is a piano-driven ballad with lyrics that speak about the difficulties of a long-distance relationship.
“How It Feels to Fly” is the thirteenth track, which is a slow and uplifting song with lyrics that talk about the feeling of freedom and liberation. Finally, the album closes with “Empire State of Mind (Part II) Broken Down,” a slower and more emotional version of Jay-Z’s hit single.
The Element of Freedom was produced by a variety of producers, each bringing their own unique style to the project. Some of the most notable producers on the album include:
Swizz Beatz: Alicia Keys’ husband and a well-known producer in the hip-hop community. He produced several tracks on the album, including “Love is My Disease” and “Put It in a Love Song” (featuring Beyoncé).
Jeff Bhasker: A Grammy-winning producer known for his work with Kanye West, Bruno Mars, and Mark Ronson. He produced several tracks on the album, including “Try Sleeping with a Broken Heart” and “That’s How Strong My Love Is.”
Kerry “Krucial” Brothers Jr.: A longtime collaborator of Alicia Keys, Krucial produced several tracks on the album, including “Empire State of Mind (Part II) Broken Down.”
The album’s production was a departure from Alicia Keys’ traditional R&B sound, incorporating more pop and hip-hop elements. The use of synths and smoother instrumentals gave the album a more polished, radio-friendly sound.
Themes and Lyrics
The Element of Freedom explores themes of love, heartbreak, and personal growth. Many of the tracks deal with the struggles of relationships, whether it’s trying to move on from a broken heart (“Try Sleeping with a Broken Heart”) or grappling with the fear of vulnerability (“Un-Thinkable (I’m Ready)”). In “Love Is My Disease,” Keys sings about a toxic relationship that she can’t seem to shake, while “Love is Blind” examines the dangers of falling in love with someone who doesn’t reciprocate your feelings.
The album also explores themes of self-love and empowerment. “That’s How Strong My Love Is” is a powerful ballad about the strength of love and the importance of standing by someone through thick and thin. “Wait Til You See My Smile” is a hopeful, uplifting track that encourages listeners to find joy even in difficult times.
One of the standout tracks on the album is “Empire State of Mind (Part II) Broken Down,” a stripped-down, piano-driven version of the Jay-Z hit. In this version, Keys reflects on her love for New York City and the sense of possibility and freedom that it represents.
The Element of Freedom is a powerful and emotional album that showcases Alicia Keys’ versatility as an artist. The album’s production is a mix of pop and R&B with hip-hop influences, and the lyrics explore themes of love, heartbreak, and self-discovery.
The album was a commercial success, reaching the top of the charts in the United States and earning critical acclaim. The album’s hit singles like “Try Sleeping with a Broken Heart” and “Empire State of Mind (Part II) Broken Down” have become fan favorites and continue to be played on the radio today.
Overall, The Element of Freedom is a must-listen for fans of Alicia Keys and anyone who appreciates powerful and emotional music.