The sob story
Each tune is given a new twist, with Keys on her piano and alternating her soulful personas – a bit of raw and raspy, a pinch of sweet and sultry.
In between each performance, Keys also gets into storytelling mode (ahem!) and shares with fans some details about her songs. The little things like Keys talking about how “baby” is her favourite word and then showing off vocally how it fits into any song, makes this album a delight to listen to.
Fans will also love Keys’ explanation of how some songs came to be, like in the case of You Don’t Know My Name. She said the dialogue bit was added to give the song a little bit more feel, and the lines had to be improvised to make it sound natural.
It also helps that Keys has the kind of assured, alluring voice that makes you want to pay attention to every word.
As a nod to the Big Apple, Keys digs deep and rolls out a rugged Empire State Of Mind Part II: Broken Down – a soaring, stripped-down version of her earlier hit single with Jay Z. Pick this up to be mesmerised by Keys’ powerful voice.
(Sony Music) PRIOR to releasing his selftitled debut album, X-Factor reality show winner James Arthur scored a number one hit in Britain with a cover song. Fortunately for fans, his rendition of Shontelle’s Impossible is also included in this album.
The heavily tattooed Arthur, 25, plays the crowd-pleaser from start to finish in this album. He kicks things off with the thundering number You’re Nobody ‘Til Somebody Loves You, with a snatch of dubstep in the equation. Yes, this lad knows how to rock a contrived club anthem.
He also collaborates with Brit singer-songwriter Emeli Sande on the sublime love song Roses. This string-laden track, admittedly, is a decent piece of melodrama despite its silly lyrics.
Arthur also shows off his vocal range on Suicide, a slow number with a tinge of blues in it.
If anything, Arthur should stick to his R&B pop sensibilities. When he tries to get all rock star, it feels like we’re going to get another Adam Levine. And we don’t really need another Adam Levine.
This 18-track album also includes five bonus tracks, where fans can listen to acoustic numbers like Get Down and Supposed.
It’s unfortunate, but this album desperately needs a personality.