Monday, January 12, 2004

If I'd had/heard The Diary of Alicia Keys about a month ago, it would've been on my Pazz & Jop ballot, period. Possibly as high as #3, just behind Jaxx and Postal Service. It's that good. The (tracks) 5-6-7 punch of "You Don't Know My Name," "If I Ain't Got You," and "Diary" is soul at its devastating best. But "Heartburn," "Wake Up," or "Samsonite Man" could just as easily be highlights - and on a lesser album, would be. Apart from the opening "Harlem's Nocturne," Keys spends a lot less time (than on Songs In A Minor) showing off her prowess, and just shuts up and sings/plays (piano)/produces/writes, and lets her artistry talk. Which it does, loudly. This Diary shows an artist just getting started; she might be a presence for another 20-30 years, yet. She's that good.

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