Here (Alicia Keys album)

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Here
The black and white picture shows woman with black curly hair, wearing a silver earring and looking straight at camera.
Studio album by
ReleasedNovember 4, 2016 (2016-11-04)
StudioJungle City and Oven, New York
Genre
Length45:55
LabelRCA
Producer
Alicia Keys chronology
Girl on Fire
(2012)
Here
(2016)
Alicia
(2020)
Singles from Here
  1. "In Common"
    Released: May 4, 2016
  2. "Blended Family (What You Do for Love)"
    Released: October 7, 2016

Here (stylized as HERE) is the sixth studio album by American singer and songwriter Alicia Keys. It was released on November 4, 2016, by RCA Records.

Keys recorded the album in sessions at the New York-based Jungle City Studios and Oven Studios with producers Mark Batson, Swizz Beatz, Illangelo, Jimmy Napes, and Pharrell Williams. The singer had finished writing and recording material for the album before she found out she was pregnant in 2014, which put the record's release on hold.

Here charted at number two on the US Billboard 200 in its first week of release and became Keys' seventh album to top the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. By May 2017, it had sold 131,000 copies worldwide. Critically, the album was well received as reviewers applauded the raw and urgent quality of the music and its exploration of social struggles and African-American life.

Writing and recording[edit]

Keys recorded Here in sessions at Jungle City Studios and Oven Studios in New York.[2] She spoke of the creative process for the album in an interview with Citizens of Humanity magazine:

"The music for this album was created so fast—the fastest I've ever created music before. It was like raining down every night, like storms of music was just coming out. It was crazy because I never experienced creating like that; I came in already knowing what I wanted to start to talk about. I knew the topics that I wanted to address and I knew who I wanted to assemble to help me create this very powerful sonic and lyrical journey. So everything I did was with so much intention that when the music began it made sense that it just came so fast. We did probably 30 songs in like 10 days."[3]

Here is Keys' first album in four years, following Girl on Fire (2012). The singer said that she was not planning a hiatus, but after she finished recording material for the album, she found out she was pregnant which "put a different time spin on things";[3] her son Genesis was born in December 2014.[4]

Release and promotion[edit]

The first single from the album's standard edition, "Blended Family (What You Do for Love)", was released on October 7, 2016 with the album's pre-order.[5] An earlier single, "In Common", had been released on May 4 and performed by Keys on the May 7 episode of the comedy sketch show Saturday Night Live;[6] it was later included on the deluxe edition of the album.[7] On October 9, Keys headed the concert special Here in Times Square, featuring performances of album tracks and other songs with several guest artists in New York City's Times Square. The special was broadcast by BET on November 3.[8] Here was released the following day by RCA Records.[9]

In the album's first week of release, it debuted at number two on the US Billboard 200 and moved 50,000 album-equivalent units, of which 42,000 were pure album sales.[10] It topped the US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums on November 26, 2016, becoming Keys' seventh number-one album on the chart.[11] By May 2017, the album had sold 131,000 copies worldwide.[12]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
AnyDecentMusic?7.3/10[13]
Metacritic76/100[14]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic2.5/5 stars[2]
Consequence of SoundB–[15]
Entertainment WeeklyB+[16]
The Guardian4/5 stars[17]
The Independent4/5 stars[18]
The Irish Times4/5 stars[1]
NME4/5 stars[19]
Pitchfork6.5/10[20]
Rolling Stone3.5/5 stars[21]
ViceA–[22]

Here was met with 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 76, based on 14 reviews.[14]

Reviewing Here for The Independent, Andy Gill praised Keys' writing and musicality, regarding it to be "grounded in a melodic appeal that’s almost magnetic."[18] In Vice, Robert Christgau hailed the album as Keys' best record since her debut Songs in A Minor, deeming it "simultaneously raw and political", and crediting Swizz Beatz for defining "the funk her adventures in gospel grit demand, evoking Memphis thump while remaining so hip-hop that the samples stay in Nas-Wu-Tribe territory".[22] The Wall Street Journal's Jim Fusilli credited the singer for pursuing new and less-commercial sounds without discarding her classic-soul forte,[23] and Rolling Stone journalist Keith Harris said she exhibited more cruder R&B rather than the classical piano influences of her past work while suggesting a "hectic but coherent" atmosphere evocative of New York City, with influences from boom bap, Latin music, and 1970s soul.[21] Entertainment Weekly writer Nolan Feeney said Keys performed with a "fire in her voice and an almost rap-like cadence", the urgency and subject matter of which made the album her "most vital release in years — and a welcome addition to 2016's rich canon of albums ... that address black life in America.[16] Nick Levine from NME praised Keys' "looser and more youthful" approach, and appreciated that she "doesn't shy away from the personal here" while also looking outwards in explorations of social struggles.[19] According to Ludovic Hunter-Tilney of the Financial Times, Here was animated by "politically active music" such as Sam Cooke's 1964 Civil Rights anthem "A Change Is Gonna Come", and suggested that Keys' "powerful vocals carry the memory of Lauryn Hill in her prime."[24]

Some reviewers were less enthusiastic. Andy Kellman of AllMusic observed energy and conviction in Keys' performance, and a number of "career standouts" in "She Don't Really Care_1 Luv" and "Blended Family". He ultimately found the album's music hastily made, "hollow", and "crude", however, attributing this to "Keys' invigorated energy level and need to simply expel ideas, rather than refine them".[2] Vanessa Okoth-Obbo from Pitchfork applauded the singer's musical experimentation and range, but found the lyrics unadventurous and objected to her "inhabiting the personae of multiple characters" at the expense of personal revelation; in Okoth-Obbo's opinion, the album "does little to further our understanding of who Keys is".[20]

Track listing[edit]

Here – Standard edition[25]
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."The Beginning (interlude)"Alicia KeysAlicia Keys1:04
2."The Gospel"
3:01
3."Pawn It All"
  • Keys
  • Batson
  • Beatz
3:10
4."Elaine Brown (interlude)"
  • Keys
  • Keys
0:50
5."Kill Your Mama"Keys2:40
6."She Don't Really Care_1 Luv"
  • Keys
  • Swizz Beatz
  • Johnson
6:07
7."Elevate (interlude)"KeysKeys0:48
8."Illusion of Bliss"
  • Keys
  • Batson
  • Dean
  • Lilly
  • Keys
  • Batson
  • Swizz Beatz
5:23
9."Blended Family (What You Do for Love)" (featuring ASAP Rocky)
  • Keys
  • Batson
3:31
10."Work on It"
  • Keys
  • Williams
3:34
11."Cocoa Butter (Cross & Pic Interlude)"KeysKeys0:59
12."Girl Can't Be Herself"
  • Keys
  • Batson
  • Lilly
  • Martin
  • Keys
  • Batson
2:39
13."You Glow (interlude)"KeysKeys0:25
14."More than We Know"
  • Keys
  • Hyman
  • Batson
  • Lilly
  • Martin
  • Keys
  • Batson
4:35
15."Where Do We Begin Now"
  • Keys
  • Batson
  • Lilly
  • Keys
  • Batson
2:47
16."Holy War"
4:22
Total length:45:55
Here – Deluxe edition (bonus tracks)[26][27]
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
17."Hallelujah"
  • Keys
  • Napes
3:09
18."In Common"
Illangelo3:29
Total length:52:33
Here – Japanese version (bonus tracks)[28]
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
19."In Common" (Black Coffee Remix)
  • Keys
  • Montagnese
  • Parks
  • Walsh
  • Illangelo
  • Black Coffee
4:58
20."In Common" (Kaskade Remix)
  • Keys
  • Montagnese
  • Parks
  • Walsh
  • Illangelo
  • Kaskade
4:22

Track notes[edit]

Personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from Here liner notes.[29]

Charts[edit]

Release history[edit]

List of release dates, showing region, edition(s), format(s), label and reference.
Region Date Edition(s) Format(s) Label Ref.
United Kingdom November 4, 2016
  • Standard
  • Deluxe
RCA [9]
United States [25]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Carroll, Jim (November 2, 2016). "Alicia Keys - Here album review: swinging for a whole different set of musical pitches". The Irish Times. Retrieved July 19, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c Kellman, Andy. "Alicia Keys - Here". AllMusic. Retrieved November 7, 2016.
  3. ^ a b Freedman, Jared (July 6, 2016). "Alicia Keys". Citizens of Humanity. Retrieved November 6, 2016.
  4. ^ Webber, Stephanie (December 28, 2014). "Alicia Keys Gives Birth, Welcomes Second Baby Boy With Swizz Beatz: See His Unique Name!". Us Weekly. Retrieved November 6, 2016.
  5. ^ Young, Alex (October 7, 2016). "Alicia Keys announces new album, Here, shares ASAP Rocky single — listen". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved October 7, 2016.
  6. ^ Martin, Annie (May 4, 2016). "Alicia Keys releases new single 'In Common'". UPI. Retrieved November 23, 2018.
  7. ^ Taylor, Kage (October 29, 2016). "Alicia Keys Finally Dropped the Full Audio for 'Holy War'". The Source. Retrieved November 23, 2018.
  8. ^ "Alicia Keys Shuts Down Times Square With Hometown Concert". Billboard.
  9. ^ a b "Here by Alicia Keys: Amazon.co.uk: Music". Amazon. Retrieved October 26, 2016.
  10. ^ Caulfield, Keith (November 13, 2016). "Bon Jovi Earns Sixth No. 1 Album on Billboard 200 Chart". Billboard. Retrieved November 14, 2016.
  11. ^ Mendizabal, Amaya (November 16, 2016). "Alicia Keys Collects Seventh No. 1 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums Chart". Billboard.
  12. ^ Boneschansker, Daniel (May 11, 2017). "Grammys 2018: What Are the Best-selling Albums (so Far) Eligible for Album of the Year?". Gold Derby. Retrieved May 26, 2017.
  13. ^ "Here by Alicia Keys reviews". Any Decent Music. Retrieved November 26, 2016.
  14. ^ a b "Critic Reviews for Here". Metacritic. Retrieved November 9, 2018.
  15. ^ Corcoran, Nina (November 14, 2016). "Alicia Keys – Here". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved July 19, 2018.
  16. ^ a b Feeney, Nolan (November 9, 2016). "Alicia Keys' Here: EW Review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved November 9, 2016.
  17. ^ Bowser, Edward (November 10, 2016). "Album Review: Alicia Keys, Here". The Guardian. Retrieved November 10, 2016.
  18. ^ a b Gill, Andy (November 9, 2016). "Album reviews: Emeli Sande – Long Live The Angels, Sting – 57th & 9th, Alicia Keys – Here, Simple Minds – Acoustic". The Independent. Retrieved November 9, 2016.
  19. ^ a b Levine, Nick (November 11, 2016). "Album Review: Alicia Keys, Here". NME. Retrieved November 11, 2016.
  20. ^ a b Okoth-Obbo, Vanessa (November 10, 2016). "Alicia Keys — Here". Pitchfork. Retrieved November 11, 2016.
  21. ^ a b Harris, Keith (April 25, 2016). "Review: Alicia Keys Gets Gritty, Eclectic, Political on 'Here'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved November 9, 2016.
  22. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (November 25, 2016). "We the People: Expert Witness with Robert Christgau". Vice. Retrieved November 26, 2016.
  23. ^ Fusilli, Jim (November 5, 2016). "'Here' by Alicia Keys Review: The Rewards of Risk Taking". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved November 6, 2016.
  24. ^ Hunter-Tilney, Ludovic (November 11, 2016). "Alicia Keys: Here — review". Financial Times. Retrieved November 11, 2016.
  25. ^ a b "Here by Alicia Keys on iTunes US". iTunes (US). Retrieved October 7, 2016.
  26. ^ "Here by Alicia Keys on iTunes GB". iTunes (GB). Retrieved October 8, 2016.
  27. ^ "Here (Deluxe)". Google Play Music. Archived from the original on January 15, 2017. Retrieved October 11, 2016.
  28. ^ "Amazon.co.jp: ヒアー :アリシア・キーズ 形式: CD" (in Japanese). Amazon.
  29. ^ Here (CD). Alicia Keys. 2016.CS1 maint: others (link)
  30. ^ "Australiancharts.com – Alicia Keys – Here". Hung Medien. Retrieved November 12, 2016.
  31. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Alicia Keys – Here" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved November 16, 2016.
  32. ^ "Ultratop.be – Alicia Keys – Here" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved November 12, 2016.
  33. ^ "Ultratop.be – Alicia Keys – Here" (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved November 12, 2016.
  34. ^ "Alicia Keys Chart History (Canadian Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved November 15, 2016.
  35. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Alicia Keys – Here" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved November 12, 2016.
  36. ^ "Le Top de la semaine : Top Albums Fusionnes - SNEP (Week 45, 2016)" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Retrieved November 15, 2016.
  37. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Alicia Keys – Here" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved November 11, 2016.
  38. ^ "GFK Chart-Track Albums: Week 45, 2016". Chart-Track. IRMA. Retrieved November 12, 2016.
  39. ^ "Italiancharts.com – Alicia Keys – Here". Hung Medien. Retrieved November 12, 2016.
  40. ^ "Charts.nz – Alicia Keys – Here". Hung Medien. Retrieved November 11, 2016.
  41. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Alicia Keys – Here". Hung Medien. Retrieved November 12, 2016.
  42. ^ "Oficjalna lista sprzedaży :: OLiS - Official Retail Sales Chart". OLiS. Polish Society of the Phonographic Industry. Retrieved November 17, 2016.
  43. ^ "Portuguesecharts.com – Alicia Keys – Here". Hung Medien. Retrieved November 16, 2016.
  44. ^ "Official Scottish Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved November 12, 2016.
  45. ^ "Spanishcharts.com – Alicia Keys – Here". Hung Medien. Retrieved November 17, 2016.
  46. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Alicia Keys – Here". Hung Medien. Retrieved November 12, 2016.
  47. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Alicia Keys – Here". Hung Medien. Retrieved November 16, 2016.
  48. ^ "Alicia Keys | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved November 12, 2016.
  49. ^ "Official R&B Albums Chart Top 40". Official Charts Company. Retrieved November 12, 2016.
  50. ^ "Alicia Keys Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved November 15, 2016.
  51. ^ "Alicia Keys Chart History (Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved November 15, 2016.
  52. ^ "Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums – Year-end Chart 2016". Billboard. Retrieved December 17, 2016.
  53. ^ "Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums – Year-End 2017". Billboard. Retrieved August 14, 2018.

External links[edit]