I'm all about change, but when it comes to Alicia Keys, I kinda like the way she was. You know what I'm talking about -- back in the Songs in A Minor and Diary of Alicia Keys days. So, when she came roaring through the gates, excited about being ablaze, I was less than thrilled because I couldn't even detect smoke near "Girl On Fire" (although I did find the "making of" backstory with its magic and fairy dust interesting). But, on Friday she gave fans a taste of what's to come when she performed both old and new sounds during her iTunes Festival set in London. I may not have been feeling the fire before, but with "Brand New Me" from the upcoming album, she has me feeling her heat again, and I love what I'm hearing. Moments before diving into the emotional track, Alicia described the song as being very important to her, and she revealed that it was co-written with Scottish singer/songwriter Emeli Sandé. Backed only by the sounds coming from her own piano, she sings, "It's been a while/I'm not who I was before/You look surprised/Your words don't burn me anymore/Been meaning to tell you/But I guess it's clear to see/Don't be mad/It's just a brand new kind of me/Can't be bad/I found a brand new kind of free." Ms. Keys does so well in this space. The song is self-reflective and rich; the quoted lyrics from the first minute of the song are just a representative sample. As she goes on, her words sting as she reveals more about the person she's come to be. I described the song as emotional, not so much for Alicia, but for the one on the receiving end. Rather, she seems to have arrived and sings the lyrics as one who has washed her hands of the heartache she must've once endured. I may still have doubts about some of the forthcoming material from Girl On Fire, but this track lets me know I definitely need to reserve judgment until the album's release on November 27th. Take a listen below, then catch her entire performance after the bounce.
After the bounce