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The Diary of Alicia Keys

R&B album by Alicia Keys

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Yes, Indeed Better Than the Last

  • May 24, 2008
  • by
Pros: She can sing and play an instrument! The Icing: she beautiful and intelligent; limited guests.

Cons: A few filler songs.

The Bottom Line: In the final musical analysis The Diary of Alicia Keys is a fitting follow-up to her debut CD.

Original Release Date: December 2, 2003
Genre: R&B, Popular
Label: J-Records
Number of Discs: (1)

Alicia Keys, the beautiful, light-skinned, black bombshell diva from Harlem released her sophomore album The Diary of Alicia Keys in December 2003 some 2.5 years after her smash 10 million selling Songs in A Minor (2001). Two point five years is not an inordinate time to wait between albums, but it was time well spent, for Ms. Keys servers up collection of R&B tracks that are better than those that came before and has avoided the dreaded sophomore slump.

Upon release The Diary of Alicia Keys won wide-spread critical acclaim and debuted on the charts at No. 1 selling some 618,000 copies in its first week of release making it the 6th largest -selling album by a female artist. To date, The Diary of Alicia Keys has sold some nine million copies worldwide, making it less successful than Songs in A Minor, but what’s a million album sells between Diva and fans?

With the success of The Diary of Alicia Keys Ms. Keys proved that she was not a passing fad; she was (and is) the real thing, an honest to goodness R&B diva with crossover appeal who could not only sing with emotive soul, but could play the piano like a virtuoso. Not many of her peers could, or can match Alicia Keys’ combination of innate musical talent, lyrical acumen, and striking, smothering, sex good looks.

The Diary of Alicia Keys spawned three notable singles: track No. 5 You Don’t Know My Name and track No. 6 If I Ain’t Got You, both of which reached the top five on the Billboard 100 chart, and; track No. 7 Diary, which entered the top ten on the same chart. The last single from the album, track No. 2 Karma peaked at number 22 on the Billboard 100 chart, but saw more success as a crossover, peaking at number 3 on the Billboard Top Mainstream airplay chart.

I enjoy The Diary of Alicia Keys on many levels; at least the music is (mostly) authentically hers; in other words there is a decided and refreshing lack of featured artists (except Tony! Toni! Toné! on track No. 7 Diary). Ms. Keys in confident enough in her “street credentials” to keep it real all on her own. There are many gleaming musical facets to this album. In additional to Ms. Keys own brand of funky, sultry soul, there is also an diverse mix of genres from contemporary jazz to smoky salsa, from hip-hop to Pop, Ms, Keys has it covered and covered well on her second studio effort.

Accolades & Awards

In the final musical analysis The Diary of Alicia Keys is a fitting follow-up to her debut CD and to prove it Ms. Keys took home the Best R&B Video statue at the 2004 MTV Video Music awards for If I Ain’t Got You, and the following year took hone the same award for Karma. At the 2005 Grammy Awards, Ms. Keys took home four statues: "Best R&B Album" for The Diary of Alicia Keys, "Best R&B Song" for You Don't Know My Name, "Best Female R&B Vocal Performance" for If I Ain't Got You, and "Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals" for My Boo with Usher (not on this album).

In addition Ms. Keys was also nominated for "Album of the Year" for The Diary of Alicia Keys, "Song of the Year" for If I Ain't Got You, "Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals" for Diary (featuring Tony! Toni! Toné!), and "Best R&B Song" for My Boo. Not many artists have garnered as much praise so quickly; indeed Alicia Keys is here to stay.

Track Listing:

1. Harlem’s Nocturne
2. Karma
3. Heartburn
4. If I Was Your Woman/ Walk On By
5. You Don’t Know My Name
6. If I Ain’t Got You
7. Diary (featuring Tony! Toni! Toné!)
8. Dragon Days
9. Wake Up
10. So Simple
11. When You Really Love Someone
12. Feeling U, Feeling Me (Interlude)
13. Slow Down
14. Samsonite Man
15. Nobody Not Ready (Interlude)


Great Music to Play While: Exercising

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More The Diary of Alicia Keys reviews
review by . May 24, 2006
This album tops her first one. She's one of few performers who can wear the title of artist and wear it well -- she's always honing her craft, and produces marvelous results!! This album is proof that Alicia means biz-nessss when it comes to producing quality music.     One pet peeve I have in regarding this album is that my two most absolute favorite tracks on the album are the two shortest ones!! The last track, "Nobody Not Really" is a beautiful song, but it's under three …
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Vincent Martin ()
Ranked #189
I am an IT Professional and have worked in the industry for over 20 years. I may be a computer geek, but I also like reading, writing, cooking, music, current events and regretfully, politics.
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About this album


Alicia Keys has more than lived up to the promise of her formidable debutSongs in A Minor, pushing beyond her flirtation with old-school soul and venturing into the modern world, even hiringTimbalandto guide her through the shoals of anthemic hip-hop on the breathless and funkified "Heartburn." Sounding like a hyperthyroid cheerleader, Keys unleashes a quirky sense of humor that no one even suspected she possessed. Her effortless singing on the beat-driven "Karma" is a wonder of sonics on this uplifting piece of pop philosophy, giving countless anxious woman hope that everything will work out as it's meant to, or on "Samsonite Man," where it won't. But despite her edgy styling and jazzy vocal posturing, Keys hasn't abandoned her love for old R&B and travels back in time, givingGladys Knight's "If I Was Your Woman" a face lift it may not have needed, then turns around and recasts the song as the winsome and dramatic "You Don't Know My Name." But at its heart,The Diary of Alicia Keysis a gross misnomer. After listening to the disc, fans will know little more about the elusive diva than they did before, her lyrical style consistently more narrative than confessional. In fact, the title track doesn't delve into the singer's inner life, but instead is about a long-distance love affair, with Keys promising the object of her affection that: "I won't tell your secrets/Your secrets are safe with me/I will keep your secrets/Just think of me as the pages in your diary."--Jaan Uhelszki
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Label: J-Records
Artist: Alicia Keys
Genre: R&B
Release Date: December 2, 2003

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