By Maurita Salkey

Struggle, pain, self-identity, sexuality, spiritually, and self-beauty. There isn’t one word that can sum up every sphere that’s traversed after listening to Here by Alicia Keys. Since her 2012 album Girl on Fire, Alicia has proven she is an artist not afraid to take risks, seeking new sounds that reflect her passion for issues she cares about. She has once again delivered emotion-filled music that will leave fans satisfied, fulfilled, and enlightened. If you’re looking for a masterpiece, it’s Here.

Fifteen years in the game, Keys has amazed us with a body of work that reflects her emotions, everyday struggles, and life experiences. With her belting tone and mix of soul, jazz, and hip-hop, Here will leave you with chills and give you a whole new perspective on life itself. Every track on this album is thought-provoking, real, and soulful. From life lessons to personal anthems, Keys not only gives us a raw account on her outlook on life but gives us affirmation on how beautiful our thoughts, feelings, and skin are. Her lyrics speak with a harsh tone of social and political awareness. Each song connects to a story reflecting the times we are living in today.

Alicia Keys extends the olive branch on new song, “Blended Family”

“Holy War,” accompanied by an acoustic guitar melody, has to be one of my favorites off the album. “Maybe we should love somebody / Maybe we could care a little more / Maybe we could love somebody Instead of polishing the bombs of holy war.” Keys shares her passion for bringing people together while emphasizing we are all one and no different from one another. On another album favorite, “Hallelujah,” Keys mentions her journey to spirituality while repeatedly asking to be forgiven of her sins. “There’s a hole in my heart I’ve been hiding / I’ve been strong for so long that I’m blind / Is there a place I can go where the lonely river flows? Where fear ends and faith begins.”

Here is an album where Keys expresses her genuine, raw emotion while giving us a glimpse of her stance on pressing society issues. She shares her voice as an African-American woman, asking questions while trying to find answers. Keys has surely reminded fans her talents have not run dry and equips us with sounds that can touch the heart. Here will leave you feeling self-empowered, informed, entertained, and most importantly, inspired.

Listen to Here below: