This Christmas I was very fortunate to get the gift of music. Two of my favorite people in the world bestowed treasures upon me that I’ll cherish for years to come. On Christmas Eve, as I did the last of the trimming to the tree, I opened my gift from Chantalle. It was a Beatles Christmas tree ornament. A scenic piece of pottery, the “Fab Four” are presented complete with instruments, as if they’re playing music from their early days of fame.
The Beatles have been a part of my life as long as I can remember. The only other group in music that made an indelible impression on me from my youth is the Jackson 5. To that sentiment, while I have not seen the A&E series featuring the remaining four brothers of that group, I have found myself listening to Michael pretty often lately. Partly because of missing him due to his passing, but mostly because I want to put in CDs these days that enable me to just press play, and walk away. THERE’S NOTHING FUNKIER THAN THAT!
That said, such is the case with Alicia Keys’ new release. A gift from my honey Kim. Keys’ new CD “The Element of Freedom,” is a just press play CD. Thanks Lady Keys, as from the Intro to the “Broken Down” version of “Empire State of Mind,” the album rocks, in an R&B / alternative pop fashion. Dare I say it, it’s her best record yet. I’ve loved everything Alicia has done up to now. Starting with her first project, “Songs in A Minor,” to the aforementioned new offering. Keys’ early success was by no means a fluke, as she’s evolved and grown with every album thus far.
Now the connection between The Beatles and Alicia Keys is that their artistry is unparalleled by most. In short, it’s not every artist that’s able to alter the sound that they deliver and still be consistent. The Beatles and Alicia Keys are two examples of musical entertainers who have been able to do this, without compromising their craft. That’s FUNKY!!!
Although the 1st single, “Doesn’t Mean Anything” from Alicia’s new CD didn’t blow me away initially, it grew on me. More significant than that, thematically, the theology of “Doesn’t Mean Anything,” “No One,” and “If I Ain’t Got You,” all share the same sentiment. Each song was the first single from her new and previous two releases. I’m listening to the new CD now and loving it. She’s taking chances, yet staying in a palatable lane. It’s a great album, although I love her either way, I can definitely say that objectively.
All that said, Keys’ and Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind” is an immediate anthem! It’s a musical performance that will ring in the ears of millions for years to come! Undoubtedly and undisputedly comparable to the classic performance of Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” of yesteryear. Congratulations and hats off to them both for creating an all time classic! AN ULTIMATE EXPRESSION OF THE ESSENCE OF FUNK!