As I Am

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This article is about the Alicia Keys album. For other uses, see As I Am (disambiguation).
As I Am
Alicia Keys - As I Am.png
Studio album by Alicia Keys
Released November 9, 2007 (2007-11-09)
Recorded 2005–07
Studio
Genre R&B
Length 55:58
Label J
Producer
Alicia Keys chronology
The Diary of Alicia Keys
(2003)
As I Am
(2007)
The Element of Freedom
(2009)
Singles from As I Am
  1. "No One"
    Released: September 11, 2007
  2. "Like You'll Never See Me Again"
    Released: November 26, 2007
  3. "Teenage Love Affair"
    Released: March 31, 2008
  4. "Superwoman"
    Released: July 29, 2008

As I Am is the third studio album by American singer and songwriter Alicia Keys. It was released on November 9, 2007 by J Records. Recording sessions for the album took place at various recording studios during 2005 to 2007. Production was handled primarily by Keys, Kerry "Krucial" Brothers, Jack Splash, and Linda Perry, with a guest contribution from musician John Mayer.

The album debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200, selling 742,000 copies in its first week, highest ever for a female R&B artist and eventually earned a triple platinum certification from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). It became an international commercial success and produced four singles that achieved chart success, including "No One", which became the song most listened to of 2007 in the United States. Despite some criticism towards Keys' songwriting, As I Am received positive reviews from most music critics and earned Keys several accolades, including three Grammy Awards. It has sold over five million copies worldwide.

The album was reissued on November 10, 2008 outside North America, subtitled The Super Edition. The album contains three additional tracks (including "Another Way to Die", Keys' collaboration with Jack White for the 2008 film Quantum of Solace)[1] and a second disc of five performances at The Coronet in London.[2][3]

Background[edit]

Keys had been working on the album since late 2005, but focused on it to a greater extent in 2006. She first mentioned the album's name to E! News reporter Giuliana Rancic on June 26, 2007 at the BET Awards red carpet pre-show. During the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards she confirmed that her album was finished. In December 2006, Keys told MTV News, "It's coming together incredibly. I am in love with this album. It's very fresh and new."[4]

The album was heavily promoted, and special advertising was arranged in collaboration with MTV before and during the week of release. The entire album was streamed on MTV's website, beginning on November 6, 2007, a week before the album's North American release date. Additionally, Keys was featured as MTV's Artist of the Week for the week beginning November 12, 2007.[5] MTV commissioned Evan Silver to direct series of nine humorous ads of Keys being harassed by someone in a bunny costume.[6] In the final spot, the bunny is revealed to be John Mayer.[7]

Singles[edit]

On September 11, 2007, Keys premiered the lead singles from the album. The first single "No One" peaked at number one on the US Billboard Hot 100, becoming Keys' third number-one single and was also successful in other international markets, charting within the top 10 around the world. Additionally, "No One" won two Grammy Awards in 2008 for Best R&B Song, and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance. A second single "Like You'll Never See Me Again" was released as a single and peaked at 12 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number one on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. The next single "Teenage Love Affair" peaked at number 54 in the US and made the top five on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. The fourth and final single "Superwoman" peaked at number 82 in the US and reached the top 20 on the R&B chart. It also won a Grammy Award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance.[8]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3/5 stars[9]
Blender 4/5 stars[10]
Entertainment Weekly B[11]
The Guardian 2/5 stars[12]
The New York Times favorable[13]
NME 6/10[14]
Q 2/5 stars[15]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[16]
Slant Magazine 4/5 stars[17]
Spin 8/10[18]

As I Am received positive reviews from most music critics.[19] At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 66, based on 22 reviews, which indicates "generally favorable reviews".[19] Jon Pareles of Blender felt that the album "advances" from her previous two albums "by showing an experimental side."[10] Spin commented that Keys' songwriting has improvement from her previous work.[18] In a rave review of the album, Gregory Stephen Tate of The Village Voice praised Keys for her vintage soul influence and called As I Am a "complete work".[20] NME perceived the album as a departure from Keys' previous albums and described it as "streetwise, smoky set of real soul".[14] Entertainment Weekly's Neil Drumming described it as "Keys' most polished — if, at times, edgeless — album to date".[11] Slant Magazine's Sal Cinquemani wrote that "Keys isn't quite a superwoman come to save R&B from itself, but the timeless quality of As I Am is right on time."[17] USA Today gave the album three out of four stars and called it Keys' "most cohesive studio album".[21] Nate Chinen of The New York Times stated "As I Am radiates not just confidence but also experience", and called it Keys' "strongest effort yet".[13] According to The Star-Ledger the album is "another solid effort" but "not the masterpiece that Keys seems capable of producing, someday".[22]

Keys' songwriting on the album received negative criticism from The Washington Post's J. Freedom du Lac, who called As I Am "disappointing" and wrote that it "reveals her considerable limitations as a lyricist".[23] Dorian Lynskey of The Guardian called Keys "crashingly dull... her vaunted self-belief seemingly leaves no room for vulnerability, humour, insight or any of the other qualities possessed by the soul giants to whose stature she aspires".[12] Writing for Rolling Stone, critic Robert Christgau found the album's prevailing mood "reflectively soulful and the prevailing tempo mid".[16] In his consumer guide, Christgau gave it a one-star honorable mention ((1-star Honorable Mention)) and quipped, "Nice girl holds out," while citing "Teenage Love Affair" and "Wreckless Love" as highlights.[24] Despite commending the album for its "more traditional soul" and pop-oriented sound, The Observer writer Stephanie Merritt perceived Keys' lyrics as a significant fault and wrote "for the most part, the lyrics are so reliant on stock phrases - 'feel your touch', 'hold me', 'shoulda known', etc - that you could read anything you like into them without them carrying any personal feeling at all".[25] Chicago Tribune writer Greg Kot felt that the "main problem is that Keys' songwriting has yet to transcend her obvious influences".[26] Marisa Brown of AllMusic also viewed its lyrical quality as a weakness, but stated, "even though As I Am is a flawed work — a little too poppy, a little too clichéd — it is also indicative of what Keys can and will do".[9]

Accolades[edit]

The ballad received comparisons from music critics to the music of Prince.[11][13][23]

Problems playing this file? See media help.

The album was number 36 on Rolling Stone's list of the Top 50 Albums of 2007.[27] The song "Teenage Love Affair" was number 23 on Rolling Stone's list of the 100 Best Songs of 2007.[28] As I Am received two Grammy Awards for the song "No One" at the 2008 ceremony for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance and Best R&B Song. The following year, she won the award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance for "Superwoman" and received two more nominations for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals for "Lesson Learned" along with John Mayer and Best Short Form Music Video for "Another Way to Die" along with Jack White at the 2009 Grammy Awards.

The album won a 2008 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Album, while "Like You'll Never See Me Again" won for Outstanding Song and Outstanding Music Video. At the 2009 NAACP Image Awards, the "Superwoman" was nominated for Outstanding Song and Outstanding Music Video; it lost both categories to will.i.am's "Yes We Can". "Like You'll Never See Me Again" was nominated for the BET Award for Video of the Year in 2008. The album won two 2008 American Music Awards for Favorite Pop/Rock Album and Favorite Soul/R&B Album. As I Am received a nomination for Album of the Year at the MTV Europe Music Awards 2008. In 2008, Entertainment Weekly ranked it number 33 in its Best Albums of the Past 25 Years list.[29] The album ranked at number 30 on Rolling Stone's list of Women Who Rock: The 50 Greatest Albums of All Time in 2012.[30]

Commercial performance[edit]

As I Am became Keys' fourth consecutive number-one album on the Billboard 200, selling 742,000 copies in its first week, the largest amount ever for any female artist since Norah Jones' Feels Like Home sold one million copies in its opening week in 2004.[31] It was ranked the best-selling album overall and the best-selling R&B album of 2008 in the United States by Billboard,[32][33] while its lead single, "No One", became the most listened-to song in the country that same year.[34] The album was certified triple platinum by the RIAA on January 3, 2008,[35] and by November 2009, it had sold 3.7 million copies in the US.[36] In 2010, Billboard named it the 76th most successful album of the decade in the US.[37] As I Am had sold over five million copies worldwide as of May 2008.[38]

Track listing[edit]

As I Am – Standard
No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "As I Am (Intro)"   Alicia Keys 1:52
2. "Go Ahead"  
  • Keys
  • Batson
4:36
3. "Superwoman"  
  • Keys
  • Brothers
4:34
4. "No One"  
  • Keys
  • Brothers
  • George D. Harry
  • Keys
  • Brothers
  • Dirty Harry[a]
4:12
5. "Like You'll Never See Me Again"  
  • Keys
  • Brothers
  • Keys
  • Brothers[a]
5:15
6. "Lesson Learned" (featuring John Mayer)
  • Keys
  • Mayer
  • Keys
  • Mayer
4:14
7. "Wreckless Love"  
  • Keys
  • Splash
3:53
8. "The Thing About Love"  
  • Keys
  • Perry
  • Keys
  • Perry
3:50
9. "Teenage Love Affair"  
  • Keys
  • Splash
  • Lilly
  • Josephine Bridges
  • Carl Hampton
  • Tom Nixon
  • Keys
  • Splash
3:10
10. "I Need You"  
  • Keys
  • Batson
  • Lilly
  • Paul L. Green
  • Keys
  • Batson
5:10
11. "Where Do We Go from Here"  
  • Keys
  • Brothers
4:11
12. "Prelude to a Kiss"   Keys   2:08
13. "Tell You Something (Nana's Reprise)"  
  • Keys
  • Brothers
4:28
14. "Sure Looks Good to Me"  
  • Keys
  • Perry
  • Keys
  • Perry
4:31
Total length:
55:58
Notes
Sampling credits
  • "Teenage Love Affair" contains a portion of "(Girl) I Love You" by The Temprees.
  • "Where Do We Go from Here" contains a portion of "After Laughter (Comes Tears)" by Wendy Rene.

Personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from the liner notes of As I Am.[43]

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Australia (ARIA)[98] Platinum 70,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria)[99] Gold 10,000*
Belgium (BEA)[100] Gold 15,000*
Canada (Music Canada)[101] 2× Platinum 200,000^
France (SNEP)[102] Platinum 200,000*
Germany (BVMI)[103] Platinum 200,000^
Ireland (IRMA)[104] Gold 7,500^
Japan (RIAJ)[105] Gold 100,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[106] Gold 7,500^
Poland (ZPAV)[107] Platinum 20,000*
Portugal (AFP)[108] Platinum 20,000^
Russia (NFPF)[109] Gold 10,000*
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[110] Gold 40,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[111] Platinum 30,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[112] Platinum 300,000^
United States (RIAA)[35] 3× Platinum 3,700,000[36]
Summaries
Europe (IFPI)[113] Platinum 1,000,000*

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

Region Date Edition Label Ref.
Germany November 9, 2007
  • Standard
  • deluxe
Sony BMG [41][114]
France November 12, 2007 JIVE Epic [115][116]
Canada November 13, 2007 Standard Sony BMG [117]
United States J [118]
Australia November 17, 2007
  • Standard
  • deluxe
Sony BMG [119][120]
United Kingdom November 19, 2007 RCA [40][121]
Japan November 21, 2007 BMG [122][123]
The Super Edition
Region Date Label Ref.
Germany November 7, 2008 Sony BMG [124]
France November 10, 2008 JIVE Epic [125]
United Kingdom RCA [126]
Japan November 26, 2008 BMG [127]

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  115. ^ "As I am – Alicia Keys" (in French). Fnac. Retrieved February 7, 2016. 
  116. ^ "As I am – Inclus DVD bonus – Alicia Keys" (in French). Fnac. Retrieved February 7, 2016. 
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  118. ^ "As I Am". Amazon.com. Retrieved February 7, 2016. 
  119. ^ "As I Am". Sony BMG Australia. Archived from the original on May 6, 2008. Retrieved February 7, 2016. 
  120. ^ "As I Am: Limited Edition; CD/DVD by Alicia Keys". Sanity. Retrieved February 7, 2016. 
  121. ^ "As I Am + DVD". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved February 7, 2016. 
  122. ^ アズ・アイ・アム【通常盤】 [As I Am [Regular Edition]] (in Japanese). Sony Music Entertainment Japan. Retrieved February 7, 2016. 
  123. ^ アズ・アイ・アム【初回限定盤】 [As I Am [First Press Limited Edition]] (in Japanese). Sony Music Entertainment Japan. Retrieved February 7, 2016. 
  124. ^ "As I Am – The Super Edition (inkl. Bond-Song & LiveDVD)" (in German). Amazon.de. Retrieved February 7, 2016. 
  125. ^ "As I am – Inclus DVD bonus – Alicia Keys" (in French). Fnac. Retrieved February 7, 2016. 
  126. ^ "As I Am – The Super Edition". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved February 7, 2016. 
  127. ^ アズ・アイ・アム:ザ・スーパー・エディション [As I Am: The Super Edition] (in Japanese). Sony Music Entertainment Japan. Retrieved February 7, 2016. 

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