Alicia Keys “KEYS” Album Review

Check out our review of Alicia Keys' new album "KEYS".


Alicia Keys

  • Genre: R&B/Soul
  • Release Date: 2021-12-10
  • Explicitness: explicit
  • Country: USA
  • Track Count: 26
  • ℗ 2021 AK Worldwide Productions, Inc., under exclusive license to RCA Records.

If you ever complained about listening to an 18 or even a 20-track album, Alicia Keys’ new 26-track “KEYS” might shock you. There is no doubt that the award-winning RnB star set out to heal hearts with her beautiful new record.

“KEYS” was released as the RnB singer and songwriter’s eighth studio album via RCA Records. The project dropped over a month ago, on December 10, 2021. The multiple Grammy-winner serves as the sole producer of the producer. That may have been the reason for naming it after herself. The album was first announced on October 27, 2021, before being released on December 10.

Speaking about the project, Keys’ revealed that it came about during the pandemic when she did not feel creative and didn’t know how to find peace. However, she knew exactly what she wanted the album to be about when she thought it up.

Cover Art

We feel that fans already had an idea what the cover art of the album “KEYS” album would be before it was unveiled. The art features beautiful Alicia wearing signature bold earrings and posing right in the middle of a keyhole. In addition, she wears a blue blouse with statement sleeves that reveal only her hands touching the bottom of the keyhole.Alicia Keys &Quot;Keys&Quot; Album Review, Yours Truly, Reviews, May 26, 2024

The rest of the keyhole is designed in blue, similar to the colour of Keys’ blouse, and decorated with a stylized “KEYS” spelling and a fancy key symbol.



There aren’t many guests features on the new “KEYS” album. The RnB singer rides solo on most of the songs and features a few artists on the others. They include multiple Grammy winner, and current nominee, Brandi Carlile (who contributes to the song “Paper Flowers”), Swae Lee who contributes to the track “LALA (Unlocked)”, Lil Wayne on “Nat King Cole (Unlocked)”, and RnB star, Khalid on “Come For Me (Unlocked)”. The album’s features are highlights that fans can anticipate while flowing through Keys’ solo vibe.

Production & Vocal Delivery

As mentioned earlier, Alicia Keys acts as the sole producer of the entire album. She produces, sings, and is credited as a songwriter on all the tracks on the album. All 26 of them. Speaking about working on it, she said, “It’s so grounded in songwriting and raw expression. I didn’t worry about production.”

Numerous other producers also participated in creating the project. They include Mike Will Made it, Sis, Raphael Saadiq, and Natalie Hemby. She also spoke about instantly vibing with Mike Will after her engineer, Ann Mincieli, suggested she connect with him. She said they “started conversating about this concept about these two worlds. She suggested I connect with [rap producer] Mike Will. And when I connected with Mike Will, it was instant vibes. I like that you can choose your adventure. You could do that thing where you’re kind of A-B-ing it, or you can just ride out to what your energy is.”

Alicia’s “KEYS” album is a double LP. The album is divided into two parts, the “Original” songs and the “Unlocked” versions. The first part of the project features the “Original” songs, while the second part features the “unlocked” versions of the same album tracks. In the second part, producer Mike Will Made sampled the “original” tracks and made the beats stronger (adding several effects and transformations). The songs are differentiated as either “(Original)” or “(Unlocked)”.


NO Title Artist Time
1 Plentiful (Originals) [feat. Pusha T] Alicia Keys 3:08
2 Skydive (Originals) Alicia Keys 3:04
3 Best Of Me (Originals) Alicia Keys 3:59
4 Dead End Road (Originals) Alicia Keys 3:32
5 Is It Insane (Originals) Alicia Keys 6:21
6 Billions (Originals) Alicia Keys 3:19
7 Love When You Call My Name (Originals) Alicia Keys 3:37
8 Only You (Originals) Alicia Keys 3:15
9 Daffodils (Originals) Alicia Keys 4:33
10 Old Memories (Originals) Alicia Keys 2:59
11 Nat King Cole (Originals) Alicia Keys 3:39
12 Paper Flowers (Originals) [feat. Brandi Carlile] Alicia Keys 3:24
13 Like Water (Originals) Alicia Keys 3:57
14 KEYS Alicia Keys 1:25
15 Only You (Unlocked) Alicia Keys 3:11
16 Skydive (Unlocked) Alicia Keys 3:03
17 Best Of Me (Unlocked) Alicia Keys 3:43
18 LALA (Unlocked) [feat. Swae Lee] Alicia Keys 4:31
19 Nat King Cole (Unlocked) [feat. Lil Wayne] Alicia Keys 4:05
20 Is It Insane (Unlocked) Alicia Keys 4:27
21 Come For Me (Unlocked) [feat. Khalid & Lucky Daye] Alicia Keys 3:29
22 Old Memories (Unlocked) Alicia Keys 3:52
23 Dead End Road (Unlocked) Alicia Keys 3:32
24 Love When You Call My Name (Unlocked) Alicia Keys 3:15
25 Daffodils (Unlocked) Alicia Keys 3:04
26 Billions (Unlocked) Alicia Keys 3:00

The album was preceded by two singles, including “LaLa (Unlocked)” featuring Swae Lee and “Best of Me”. Keys debuted the first single at the 2021 MTV Video Music Awards alongside Swae. Since it was released, the album has received generally favourable reviews. Metacritic reports that the project bagged a score of 65 out of 100. Fans have also spoken highly of it on social media, with some praising Keys’ vocals and the album’s production.


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