Alicia Keys - The Diary of Alicia KeysTuesday 23 Dec 2003
J Records - 2003 - 54 minutes
It's not something you get to say too often these days, but some albums should only come out on vinyl. At its best, Keys' second deserves that accolade and even when routine kicks in, 'Diary...' offers more memories than most.
Having shown talent way beyond 20 on her debut, Keys now has you thinking she's turned 40 two years later - and that's a compliment.
There's a gutsier, hip-hop feel here, but it's on the grooves of yesterday not the beats of today that the real class clicks in. When she gets charged on the 70s sounds of 'You Don't Know My Name' and 'If I Ain't Got You', you end up using the past to completely map out her future.
But these songs also show that Keys needs stronger material - the thoughts of her belting out stuff of a similar quality to The Three Degrees' 'If and When' or Minnie Ripperton's 'Look Inside My Love' could keep even the loneliest warm all winter.
Until then, no-one's going to freeze listening to this.
Tracklisting: Harlem's Nocturne - Karma - Heartburn - If I Was Your Woman/Walk on By - You Don't Know My Name - If I Ain't Got You - Diary (featuring Tony! Toni! Tone!) - Dragon Days - Wake Up - So Simple - When You Really Love Someone - Feeling U, Feeling Me (Interlude) - Slow Down - Samsonite Man - Nobody Not Really