The Diary of Alicia Keys

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The Diary of Alicia Keys
Studio album by Alicia Keys
Released December 1, 2003 (2003-12-01)
Recorded 2002–2003
The Hit Factory, Kampo Studios, KrucialKeys Studios, Quad Recording Studios
(New York City, New York)
The Hit Factory Criteria
(Miami, Florida)
Plus XXX
(Paris, France)
Sarm West Studios
(London, England)
Genre Neo soul, R&B, soul
Length 57:45
Label J
Producer Alicia Keys (also exec.), Kerry "Krucial" Brothers, Kanye West, Timbaland, Dre & Vidal, Easy Mo Bee, Dwayne "D. Wigg" Wiggins, Kumasi
Alicia Keys chronology
Songs in A Minor
(2001)
The Diary of Alicia Keys
(2003)
As I Am
(2007)
Singles from The Diary of Alicia Keys
  1. "You Don't Know My Name"
    Released: November 18, 2003
  2. "If I Ain't Got You"
    Released: February 17, 2004
  3. "Diary"
    Released: June 29, 2004
  4. "Karma"
    Released: November 16, 2004

The Diary of Alicia Keys is the second studio album by American recording artist Alicia Keys. It was released in the United States on December 2, 2003 by J Records. Recording sessions for the album took place during 2002 to 2003 at various recording studios, and production was handled primarily by Keys with contributions from Kerry Brothers, Jr., Timbaland, Dwayne Wiggins, Dre & Vidal, Easy Mo Bee, and Kanye West.

The album debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 chart, selling 618,000 copies in its first week. It became Keys' second consecutive number-one debut in the United States and spawned three top-ten singles. Upon its release, The Diary of Alicia Keys received generally positive reviews from most music critics and earned Keys three Grammy Awards at the 47th Grammy Awards. With domestic sales of four million copies and worldwide sales of eight million copies, The Diary of Alicia Keys is the thirty-first best-selling album of the 2000s (decade).

Background[edit]

Alicia Keys's 2001 debut album, Songs in A Minor, sold over 6.2 million copies and earned five Grammy Awards.[1] Due to the extreme popularity of her debut album, there was a lot of pressure on the album to match or exceed that success.[2] The album proved to be as successful as her debut album, and was nominated for two of the "big four" Grammy Awards: Song of the Year for "If I Ain't Got You", and Album of the Year. The album also sold over twice as many copies in its first week as Songs in A Minor.

Commercial performance[edit]

The album debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 chart, with first-week sales of 618,000 copies, serving as Keys' second consecutive number-one debut in the United States.[3] It spent 88 weeks on the chart, leaving at number 198 in 2005. It has sold over 4.4 million copies in the US.[4] and more than eight million copies worldwide.[5] The album's four singles, "You Don't Know My Name", "If I Ain't Got You", "Diary", and "Karma", reached the top twenty of the Billboard Hot 100, with three of them becoming top ten hits.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[6]
Blender 4/5 stars[1]
Entertainment Weekly B[7]
The Guardian 4/5 stars[8]
Los Angeles Times 3.5/4 stars[9]
Q 4/5 stars[10]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[11]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 4/5 stars[12]
Slant Magazine 4/5 stars[13]
Uncut 2/5 stars[14]

The Diary of Alicia Keys received generally positive reviews from music critics; it holds an average score of 71, based on 17 reviews, at Metacritic.[15] The Times said that the album "confirmed her place in musical history".[16] Critics described Keys' music as neo soul and contemporary R&B.[17] Slant Magazine's Sal Cinquemani said that it "triumphs" the neo soul "achievements" of Songs in A Minor and is "a deft mix of modernism and classicism, not to mention street and class."[13] Q magazine called it "a proper soul album which hooks you with the first pneumatic beat and draws you deeper with every heady atmosphere and vivid emotion."[10] Jon Pareles, writing in The New York Times, claimed that "it has taken The Diary of Alicia Keys ... to testify that soul songwriting can survive" and felt that the album "echoes familiar soul sounds, but Ms. Keys sounds undaunted by her sources, and she's learning fast."[18] Rob Sheffield, writing in Rolling Stone, called the album "an assured, adult statement, steeped in the complicated love life and musical dreams of an ambitious young woman who has absorbed enough Nina Simone and Aretha Franklin records to live up to the soul promise of 'Harlem's Nocturne'."[11] Dimitri Ehrlich of Vibe said that Keys is able to "sustain drama over the course" of the "masterful" album, which appropriates the "minimalist" productions of classic soul.[19] Kris Ex of Blender called it "an enthusiastic album full of masterful strokes and electrifying intensity."[1]

In a mixed review, Josh Tyrangiel of Time said that the album's first six songs are "models of how to make nostalgic music that is not anti-present", but the second half "sags".[20] David Browne, writing in Entertainment Weekly, similarly said that the second half "drifts into a narcotized semi-slumber of one earnest, samey retro-soul piano ballad after another."[7] Laura Sinagra of The Village Voice felt that the album's songs lack hooks and other "surface content", sounding instead like unfinished vocal sketches.[21] Mark Anthony Neal of PopMatters said that it only shows "fleeting glimpses" of Keys' actual sensibilities and said that, although it "clearly evinces Keys’s growth as an artist since Songs in A Minor," the album is "clearly laboring to be relevant to the current marketplace and thus suffers from a serious lack of cohesion..[22] Alexis Petridis, writing in The Guardian, found it creatively safe and marred by "anodyne slow numbers studded with knowing references to old records".[8] Uncut found Keys' lyrics boring and filled with a "litany of cliche and hackneyed need-a-man" wailing.[14] Robert Christgau of The Village Voice rated the album a "dud" ((dud)),[23] indicating "a bad record whose details rarely merit further thought."[24]

Accolades[edit]

Blender magazine named it the seventh best album of 2004.[25] Billboard placed the album fifty-fifth in the decade-end ranking of the most successful albums of the 2000s (decade).[26] At the 47th Grammy Awards in 2005, The Diary of Alicia Keys won a Grammy Award for Best R&B Album and also earned Keys two other awards, including Best Female R&B Vocal Performance for "If I Ain't Got You" and Best R&B Song for "You Don't Know My Name". Keys also won two Soul Train Awards, Best R&B/Soul Single ("If I Ain't Got You") and Best R&B/Soul Album by a female artist.[27] In 2007, The National Association of Recording Merchandisers and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame released a list of what they term "The Definitive 200 Albums of All Time"; The Diary of Alicia Keys ranks at number 129 on the list.[28]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Harlem's Nocturne"   Alicia Keys Keys 1:43
2. "Karma"   Kerry Brothers, Jr., Keys, Taneisha Smith Brothers 4:16
3. "Heartburn"   Keys, Tim Mosley, Walter Millsap III, Candice Nelson, Erika Rose Timbaland, Keys 3:28
4. "If I Was Your Woman/Walk On By"   Gloria Jones, Clarence McMurray, Pam Sawyer, Burt Bacharach, Hal David Keys, Easy Mo Bee, Dwayne "D. Wigg" Wiggins 3:06
5. "You Don't Know My Name"   Keys, Kanye West, Harold Lilly, J. R. Bailey, Mel Kent, Ken Williams West, Keys 6:06
6. "If I Ain't Got You"   Keys Keys 3:48
7. "Diary" (featuring Tony! Toni! Toné!) Keys, Brothers Keys 4:45
8. "Dragon Days"   Keys Keys 4:36
9. "Wake Up"   Keys, Brothers Keys 4:27
10. "So Simple" (featuring Lellow*) Keys, Lilly, Andre Harris, Vidal Davis Dre & Vidal, Keys 3:49
11. "When You Really Love Someone"   Keys, Brothers Keys 4:09
12. "Feeling U, Feeling Me (Interlude)"   Keys Keys 2:07
13. "Slow Down"   Keys, L. Green, Rose Keys, Kumasi 4:18
14. "Samsonite Man"   Keys, Rose Keys, Brothers 4:12
15. "Nobody Not Really"   Keys, Smith Keys 2:56

*Alias for Alicia Keys[29]

Samples credits

Personnel[edit]

Charts[edit]

Chart procession and succession[edit]

Preceded by
The Black Album by Jay-Z
Soulful by Ruben Studdard
US Billboard 200 number-one album
December 20, 2003
January 3, 2004
Succeeded by
Soulful by Ruben Studdard
Speakerboxxx/The Love Below by OutKast
Preceded by
The Black Album by Jay-Z
US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums number-one album
December 20, 2003 – January 24, 2004
Succeeded by
Soulful by Ruben Studdard
Preceded by
It's Done! by Overground
Swiss Albums Chart number-one album
December 21, 2003
Succeeded by
Life for Rent by Dido

Certifications[edit]

Country Certification
Argentina[63] Gold
Australia[64] Platinum
Belgium[65] Gold
Canada[66] 2× Platinum
Europe[67] Platinum
France[68] Gold
Germany[69] Platinum
Italy[70] Gold
Japan[71] Gold
Netherlands[72] Platinum
New Zealand[73] Gold
Norway[74] Gold
Sweden[75] Gold
Switzerland[76] Platinum
United Kingdom[77] Platinum
United States[78] 4× Platinum

Release history[edit]

Country Date Label
United Kingdom December 1, 2003 J Records
Germany
France
Australia
United States December 2, 2003
Canada Sony Music
Japan December 12, 2003 BMG

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]