Audio + Video: Finding 'Common' Ground With Alicia Keys Again


Circulating around the shadiest groves of the Internet is the assertion that when Alicia Keys stole someone's man --- the devil rebuked her voice. Now, I'm not one to go in on grown folks and their relationships, because my single no-man-having ass has no room to say words on that level, but I will agree that once Ms. Keys put that ring on she musically lost some edge. And as for that voice, well, I hate to say that Alicia, at times, needs to understand that her vocal instrument has it's limits as the cat on a hot tin roof screeches heard on "No One" and "Girl On Fire" weren't exactly...cute.

"In Common" proves the turnaround for anyone who hasn't been feeling her sound as of late as the new single is a surefire bop that updates her aesthetic and gives Alicia her groove back. For starters, "In Common" nestles Alicia's vocals in a fresh, electronic soundbed that mixes tropical beats with icy rhythmic patterns, it all hinting at the inner workings of a Disclosure or AlunaGeorge creation at times. Also the track has something 'in common' with Drake, and to no surprise as Alicia enlisted one of his producers, fellow Canadian Illangelo to concoct its chilled-out vibe.


Alicia truly hasn't sounded this inspired since "Un-thinkable (I'm Ready)" (another time Alicia utilized the Drake aesthetic to her advantage...), and though "In Common" is nowhere near as classic as "Diary" was, at least Alicia has realized that she courts and sparks better when she pulls back on the vocal reigns and allows the slow burn of her sensuality do the luring.

How Alicia plans to further reinvent and re-focus her sound for the future is anyone's guess, but all is soon-to-be revealed when the full-length follow-up to 2012's Girl On Fire is released later this year.

...and if "In Common" sounds great on the audio stream, it's also a winner on the live wire as Alicia served good looks and sounds during a musical guest spot on Saturday Night Live this past weekend.

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