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The Element of Freedom is the fourth studio album by American recording artist Alicia Keys, released on December 15, 2009, on J Records in the United States. The album debuted at number two on the Billboard 200--selling 417,000 copies in its first week--her first album to miss the number one spot.

After recording her third studio album, As I Am, Keys began to "find the way to totally be myself and what that meant; figuring out what choices I wanted to make and not make in order to truly honor myself". She described The Element of Freedom as diverse, but noted that there is a "balance". She explained that "one side is strong and one side is vulnerable", which she pointed to as the theme of the album. The album has a "strong, edgy feel", but is also "intimate and vulnerable and delicate". While on Black Entertainment Television's 106 & Park, she described the album: "The way that the songs progress [on the album] are gonna take you on a natural high. I just want you to feel a sense of freedom, I want you to feel out-of-the-box, feel inspired, You're definitely going to be taken on a trip, I know you're going to be shocked, you're going to hear things that you probably didn't think that I would sound like. It's a journey."

In an interview with Billboard magazine, Keys stated that she "eliminated all of the boundaries and all the limitations, so that you can feel your freedom and express your freedom in every way you possibly can". The Element of Freedom was scheduled to be released on December 1, 2009, to correspond with World AIDS Day, but was pushed back to December 15 for additional recording. According to the senior vice president of urban marketing for J Records, Keys "had a couple of more things in the oven and she wants this to be right [...] So we gave her the additional time she needed." Keys pointed out that she felt the album was being rushed for no reason.
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Artist:  Alicia Keys
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review by . January 08, 2010
posted in Music Matters
This album isn't the best but she makes you feel ……yeap …..sometimes life really is that simple.
 After hearing this album a couple of times you can determine a balance of vulnerability, strength, and love captured throughout the progression of Key’s fourth album. This was written during a time of intense personal struggle for the New York City songstress, and her pain is evident throughout Freedom. Almost completely lacking in some of the more upbeat cuts that buoyed her last album As I Am (Teenage Love Affair for example), Freedom is often little more than Keys, a piano, some …
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