Russell Baillie

Russell Baillie is the Herald’s entertainment editor

Alicia Keys: Songs in A Minor

By RUSSELL BAILLIE

(Herald rating: * * * )

As her name, her debut album title, the picture on the back, and intro track Piano and I (basically Moonlight Sonata with that hip-hop beat it always needed) all subtly suggest, 20-year-old Ms Keys is pretty handy on the ivories.

She hasn’t got a bad voice either — its timbre suggests she’s closer to nouveau soul practitioners such as Jill Scott and Angie Stone than yet another junior R&B diva.

But while this, which is on veteran popbiz impresario Clive Davis’ new label, might indicate abundant talent aligned to neatly reverential vintage soul style, the songs don’t add up to anything particularly memorable.

Apart, perhaps from the Aretha-echoing Fallin’ and A Woman’s Worth, a cover of Prince’s How Come You Don’t Call Me and her orchestral funk co-write with Isaac Hayes, Rock Wit U.

But even if her debut is less than the sum of its influences, this musical minor is still bound to be a major star, soon enough.

Label: J Records

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