As I Am

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As I Am
Alicia Keys - As I Am.png
Studio album by
ReleasedNovember 9, 2007
Recorded2005–2007
Studio
GenreR&B
Length55:58
LabelJ
Producer
Alicia Keys chronology
Unplugged
(2005)
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, and was eventually certified quadruple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). It became an international commercial success and spawned 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
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic66/100[9]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic3/5 stars[10]
Blender4/5 stars[11]
Entertainment WeeklyB[12]
The Guardian2/5 stars[13]
NME6/10[14]
Q2/5 stars[15]
Rolling Stone3/5 stars[16]
Spin4/5 stars[17]
The Times3/5 stars[18]
USA Today3/4 stars[19]

As I Am received generally positive reviews from critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream publications, the album received an average score of 66, based on 22 reviews.[9] Jon Pareles of Blender felt that the album "advances" from her previous two albums "by showing an experimental side."[11] Spin commented that Keys' songwriting has improvement from her previous work.[17] 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".[12] 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."[21] USA Today called it Keys' "most cohesive studio album".[19] 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".[22] According to The Star-Ledger the album is "another solid effort" but "not the masterpiece that Keys seems capable of producing, someday".[23]

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".[24] 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".[13] 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.[25] 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".[26] Chicago Tribune writer Greg Kot felt that the "main problem is that Keys' songwriting has yet to transcend her obvious influences".[27] 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".[10]

Accolades[edit]

The album was number 36 on Rolling Stone's list of the Top 50 Albums of 2007.[28] The song "Teenage Love Affair" was number 23 on Rolling Stone's list of the 100 Best Songs of 2007.[29] 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.[30] The album ranked at number 30 on Rolling Stone's list of "Women Who Rock: The 50 Greatest Albums of All Time" in 2012.[31]

Commercial performance[edit]

As I Am debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 with 742,000 copies sold in its first week, then the largest amount ever for any female artist since Norah Jones' Feels Like Home sold one million copies in its opening week in 2004, while becoming Keys' fourth consecutive number-one album on the chart.[32] The following week, the album dropped to number two on the chart, selling an additional 349,000 copies.[33] In its third week, it fell to number three, with 257,400 copies sold.[34] It was ranked the best-selling album overall and the best-selling R&B album of 2008 in the United States by Billboard,[35][36] while its lead single, "No One", became the most listened-to song in the country that same year.[37] In late 2009, it was ranked the 76th best-selling album of the decade in the US.[38] On August 11, 2020, the album was certified quadruple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for combined sales and album-equivalent units of over four million units in the United States.[39]

Internationally, As I Am reached number one in Switzerland, as well as the top five in Australia, Canada, France, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and Portugal, and the top 10 in Austria, Germany, and Poland.[40][41][42][43] As of May 2008, the album had sold over five million copies worldwide.[44]

Track listing[edit]

No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."As I Am (Intro)"Alicia Keys1:52
2."Go Ahead"
  • Keys
  • Batson
4:36
3."Superwoman"
  • Keys
  • Brothers
4:34
4."No One"
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
UK and Japanese edition bonus track[45][46]
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
15."Waiting for Your Love"Keys3:48
Deluxe edition bonus DVD[47]
No.TitleLength
1."Karma" (Live at the Hollywood Bowl) 
2."Heartburn" (Live at the Hollywood Bowl) 
3."Wake Up" (Live at the Hollywood Bowl) 
4."Behind-the-Scenes: As I Am Photo Shoot" 
5."Behind-the-Scenes: "No One" Video Shoot" 
The Super Edition bonus tracks[48]
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
15."Another Way to Die" (with Jack White)WhiteWhite4:24
16."Doncha Know (Sky Is Blue)"
  • Keys
  • Perry
  • Keys
  • Perry
4:24
17."Saviour"
  • Keys
  • Splash
  • Lilly
  • Green
  • Keys
  • Splash
3:22
The Super Edition bonus DVD: Live from the Coronet Theatre, London[48]
No.TitleLength
1."You Don't Know My Name" 
2."Superwoman" 
3."No One" 
4."Teenage Love Affair" 
5."If I Ain't Got You" 

Notes[edit]

  • ^[a] signifies a co-producer

Sample credits[edit]

  • "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.[49]

Musicians[edit]

  • Alicia Keys – piano (tracks 1–6, 8, 13); Wurlitzer (tracks 1–3, 10, 13); harpsichord (track 1); virtual synths (tracks 1, 3, 5, 13); vocals (tracks 2–4, 8, 10, 14); Rhodes (tracks 3, 10, 13); Mellotron (tracks 3, 4); Moog, synth bass (track 3); horn arrangements (tracks 3, 10); Jupiter synth, vocoder (track 4); programmed strings (tracks 4, 5, 13); lead vocals (tracks 5–7, 11, 13); lead Moog (track 5); background vocals (tracks 6, 7, 11, 13, 14); vocal arrangements (tracks 7, 9)
  • Kerry "Krucial" Brothersprogrammed drums (tracks 1, 3–5, 8, 11, 13); horn arrangements (track 11)
  • Mark Batsonclavinet (tracks 2, 10, 11); Moog bass (tracks 2, 3); programmed strings (track 2); programmed drums (tracks 2, 10); B-3 organ (tracks 3, 11); piano (track 10; horn arrangements (tracks 10, 11)
  • Trevor Lawrence Jr. – live drums (tracks 2, 3, 8, 10, 13, 14); percussion (track 10)
  • Steve Mostyn – bass guitar (tracks 3–5, 10, 11, 13, 14); acoustic guitar (tracks 4, 10)
  • Mark Robohm – live drums (track 3)
  • Ray Chew – horn arrangements (track 3)
  • Jumaane Smith – trumpet lead (track 3)
  • Duane Eubanks – trumpet #2 (track 3)
  • Ryan Keberle – tenor trombone (track 3)
  • Michael Deasetenor trombone, bass trombone (track 3)
  • David Watson – tenor saxophone (track 3)
  • Darryl Dixon – alto saxophone (track 3)
  • Carl Maraghi – baritone saxophone (track 3)
  • Jason Sugata – French horn (track 3)
  • John "Jubu" Smith – lead guitar, rhythm guitar (track 5); guitar (track 13)
  • John Mayer – background vocals, lead guitar, rhythm guitar (track 6)
  • David Ryan Harris – guitar #2 (track 6)
  • Sean Hurley – bass guitar (track 6)
  • Steve Jordan – live drums (track 6)
  • Jack Splash – instrument arrangements, instrument programming (tracks 7, 9)
  • Paul L. Green – background vocals (tracks 7, 13)
  • Harold Lilly – background vocals (track 7)
  • John Salvatore Scaglione – lead guitar, rhythm guitar (track 8)
  • Paul Ill – bass guitar (tracks 8, 14)
  • Damon Fox – B-3 organ (tracks 8, 14); Mellotron (track 8); Moog synth (track 14)
  • Harry Kim – trombone (tracks 10, 11)
  • David G. Stout – trumpet (tracks 10, 11)
  • Everette K. Harp – saxophone (tracks 10, 11)
  • Novel Stevenson – background vocals (track 13)
  • Ron Haney – guitar (track 13)
  • Linda Perry – background vocals, piano (track 14)
  • Peter Thorn – guitar (track 14)

Technical[edit]

  • Alicia Keys – production (all tracks); vocal production (tracks 7, 9); executive production
  • Kerry "Krucial" Brothers – production (tracks 1, 3, 4, 11, 13); co-production (track 5); executive production
  • Ann Mincieli – engineering, recording (all tracks); vocal recording (track 14); album coordination
  • Vincent Creusot – engineering assistance (track 1)
  • Manny Marroquin – mixing (all tracks); engineering (track 8)
  • Jared Robbins – mix assistance (tracks 1–11, 13)
  • Mark Batson – production (tracks 2, 10)
  • Brendan Dekora – engineering assistance (tracks 2, 4, 7, 8, 10, 11, 13, 14)
  • Glen Pittman – engineering assistance (tracks 2, 9–11)
  • Keith Gretlein – engineering assistance (tracks 2, 10)
  • Zach Hancock – engineering assistance (tracks 2–5, 10, 13, 14)
  • Seth Waldmann – engineering assistance (tracks 2, 3, 5, 6, 10, 13, 14)
  • Christian Baker – additional mix assistance (tracks 2, 10)
  • Stuart White – engineering assistance (tracks 3, 4, 13, 14); additional engineering (track 8)
  • Seamus Tyson – engineering assistance (tracks 3, 6)
  • Dirty Harry – co-production (track 4)
  • John Mayer – production (track 6)
  • Chad Franscoviak – additional engineering (track 6)
  • Jack Splash – production (tracks 7, 9)
  • Linda Perry – production, engineering (tracks 8, 14)
  • Andrew Chavez – Pro Tools engineering (track 14)
  • Kristofer Kaufman – engineering assistance (track 14)
  • Jeff Robinson – executive production
  • Peter Edge – executive production
  • Dave Kutch – mastering

Artwork[edit]

  • Thierry Le Gouès – photography
  • Alli Truch – art direction, design
  • Kim Biggs – art direction, design
  • Chris LeBeau – creative production

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[101] Platinum 70,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria)[102] Gold 10,000*
Belgium (BEA)[103] Gold 15,000*
Canada (Music Canada)[104] 2× Platinum 200,000^
France (SNEP)[105] Platinum 200,000*
Germany (BVMI)[106] Platinum 200,000^
Ireland (IRMA)[107] Gold 7,500^
Italy (FIMI)[108] Platinum 80,000*
Japan (RIAJ)[109] Gold 100,000^
Netherlands (NVPI)[110] Gold 35,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[111] Gold 7,500^
Poland (ZPAV)[112] Platinum 20,000*
Portugal (AFP)[113] Platinum 20,000^
Russia (NFPF)[114] Gold 10,000*
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[115] Gold 40,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[116] Platinum 30,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[117] Platinum 300,000^
United States (RIAA)[39] 4× Platinum 4,000,000double-dagger
Summaries
Europe (IFPI)[118] Platinum 1,000,000*
Worldwide 5,000,000[44]

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
double-daggersales+streaming figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

Region Date Edition Label Ref(s)
Germany November 9, 2007
  • Standard
  • deluxe
Sony BMG [47][119]
France November 12, 2007 Jive Epic [120][121]
Canada November 13, 2007 Standard Sony BMG [122]
United States J [123]
Australia November 17, 2007
  • Standard
  • deluxe
Sony BMG [124][125]
United Kingdom November 19, 2007 RCA [46][126]
Japan November 21, 2007 BMG [127][128]
The Super Edition
Region Date Label Ref.
Germany November 7, 2008 Sony BMG [129]
France November 10, 2008 Jive Epic [130]
United Kingdom RCA [131]
Japan November 26, 2008 BMG [132]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Track 1
  2. ^ Tracks 2, 4, 7, 8, 10, 11, 13 and 14
  3. ^ Tracks 2 and 9–11
  4. ^ Tracks 2–6, 10, 13 and 14
  5. ^ Tracks 3–5, 8, 13 and 14
  6. ^ Track 3
  7. ^ Tracks 3 and 6
  8. ^ Track 14

References[edit]

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