The Element of Freedom

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The Element of Freedom
A woman with her eyes closed, wearing a feathered dress that covers her chest, bares her shoulders and goes around her neck. Laid against a blue background, a white dove is seen flying behind her to the left. The name "Alicia Keys" is written to the right in white font and "The Element of Freedom" is written below that in dark blue font.
Standard edition cover[a]
Studio album by
ReleasedDecember 11, 2009 (2009-12-11)
RecordedMay–December 2009
Studio
Genre
Length53:04
LabelJ
Producer
Alicia Keys chronology
As I Am
(2007)
The Element of Freedom
(2009)
Girl on Fire
(2012)
Singles from The Element of Freedom
  1. "Doesn't Mean Anything"
    Released: September 22, 2009
  2. "Try Sleeping with a Broken Heart"
    Released: November 17, 2009
  3. "Put It in a Love Song"
    Released: January 19, 2010
  4. "Empire State of Mind
    (Part II) Broken Down
    "

    Released: February 22, 2010
  5. "Un-Thinkable (I'm Ready)"
    Released: May 28, 2010
  6. "Wait Til You See My Smile"
    Released: December 13, 2010

The Element of Freedom is the fourth studio album by American singer and songwriter Alicia Keys, released on December 11, 2009, by J Records. Recording sessions for the album took place during May to September 2009 at the Oven Studios in Long Island, New York. Production was primarily handled by Keys, Kerry Brothers Jr., and Jeff Bhasker. Departing from the classicist soul music of Keys' previous albums, The Element of Freedom has a mid-tempo, low-key sound and features mostly love songs.

Upon its release, the album received generally positive reviews from music critics, who complimented its low-key style, cohesiveness, and Keys' singing, while some were ambivalent towards the lyrics. The album debuted at number two on the US Billboard 200 chart, selling 417,000 copies in its first week. It was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) within its first month of release (later being certified double platinum) and produced six singles. By August 2012, The Element of Freedom had sold over four million copies worldwide.

Recording and production[edit]

It feels emotional and vulnerable but there's also a kind of freedom in it. I can't quite find a better word than freedom to really describe it. Even though every song has touches of different textures and sounds, the overall [sense of] freedom is the thing that grounds it. It's definitely the theme of where I am in my life.

— Alicia Keys, Billboard.[3]

After recording her third studio album, As I Am, Keys began to "find the way to totally be myself and what that meant; figuring out what choices I wanted to make and not make in order to truly honor myself".[3] Keys began working on the album in May 2009. During this time, Keys and her Audio engineer bought several vintage keyboards, describing the Moog as her "special best friend".[4] Recording took place at Keys' Oven Studios in Long Island, New York.[5] Keys expressed that she "didn't know what to do" when she began working on the album, but knew to do it.[6] After exhausting herself, she stated that she "finally found the key, and that is to allow yourself to be free".[6] She explained that the album dealt with overcoming depression, going on to say: "I found more freedom. Before, I thought I could only show the strong side of me. Now there’s a mixture of strong and delicate. A new sound, a new emotion. That’s a lot of who I am right now".[7] Recording for the album was completed between August and September 2009. Keys described that she "love[d] melody so much", but approached the album with a "free zone".[4] The album includes production by Kerry "Krucial" Brothers, Jeff Bhasker, Noah "40" Shebib and Swizz Beatz.[8]

MTV News reported that Keys and rapper Jay-Z recorded "Empire State of Mind Part 2", a second version of "Empire State of Mind" from Jay-Z's album The Blueprint 3.[9] The final product, titled "Empire State of Mind (Part II) Broken Down", did not feature Jay-Z.[10] In mid-November 2009, Brothers revealed on Twitter that Canadian recording artist Drake would be featured on the album.[11] Drake described the studio session with Keys as "one of the best studio experiences of my life". He explained that "I came in there and instead of being like, 'Here's the beat, get to work,' she was just like, 'Play me your favorite songs and lets battle'... It's almost like the transition from [listening to] great music to making a song — like, no one even noticed it, because she started playing the keys and I just started writing the melodies."[12] Keys stated that due to the album being pushed back, she was able to record "How It Feels to Fly", as well as to work with Drake and Beyoncé, which Keys described as "the most exciting collaborations of my career yet".[8][13] Keys revealed to The Times that in the period she was recording the album, she listened to artists such as Genesis, Tears for Fears, Fleetwood Mac and The Police.[14] In an interview with Billboard, Keys stated that she "eliminated all of the boundaries and all the limitations, so that you can feel your freedom and express your freedom in every way you possibly can".[15]

Music and lyrics[edit]

Music writers have noted Keys' transition from 1960s and 1970s R&B and soul to 1980s and 1990s pop-oriented sound with the album.[17][18][19] Ben Ratliff of The New York Times described most of the album's songs as "professionals ... slow, clean songs with semi-classical acoustic piano, soft-pop chord changes and simple, prominent hip-hop beats".[17] The Washington Post's Allison Stewart wrote that the album "relies unusually heavily upon mid-tempo, carefully layered lovesick ballads".[20] Keys received some comparisons to musician Prince.[17][21][22] Slant Magazine's Matthew Cole wrote that "some retro synth work lends a funky backdrop" to Keys' "breathy vamping, alternating disco-diva choruses with Prince-worthy verses".[22] Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic pointed out the "always apparent" influence of Prince, as Keys "swapped the retro-soul instrumentation of her earliest music for electronics". He identified the album as "clean, small-scale collection of ballads and Prince-inspired pop".[23] Several writers also noted that the album's tenth track, "Put It in a Love Song", distinguishes itself from the rest of the album, being described as having "dreamy, sun-dazed production" and is "quantitatively different energy".[17][20][24][25]

Keys described The Element of Freedom as diverse, but noted that there is a "balance". She explained that "one side is strong and one side is vulnerable", which she pointed to as the theme of the album. The album has a "strong, edgy feel", but is also "intimate and vulnerable and delicate".[26] While on BET's 106 & Park, she described the album: "The way that the songs progress [on the album] are gonna take you on a natural high. I just want you to feel a sense of freedom, I want you to feel out-of-the-box, feel inspired, You're definitely going to be taken on a trip, I know you're going to be shocked, you're going to hear things that you probably didn't think that I would sound like. It's a journey."[27] The Element of Freedom is composed mostly of love songs, whose lyrics deal with relationships, falling in love, and/or heartbreak. The lead single "Doesn't Mean Anything" has a similar theme to Keys' previous single "If I Ain't Got You" (2004) from her second studio album The Diary of Alicia Keys (2003)–choosing love over materialism. However, some of the songs feature different lyrical themes: "Wait Til You See My Smile" is about one not allowing negative people to defeat them, "How It Feels to Fly" is about taking risks just to experience their positive side, and "Empire State of Mind (Part II) Broken Down" contains references to various locations in New York City and its famous residents, while describing the city's essence. The album's Empire Edition includes a cover of Michael Jackson's 1975 song "We're Almost There" on its bonus disc, alongside the song "Lover Man" and live versions of Keys' singles from previous albums.[2]

Release and promotion[edit]

On September 14, 2009, the day after the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, Keys posted the audio to the album's lead single "Doesn't Mean Anything" on her YouTube channel.[28] The song was released via iTunes Store on September 22.[29] In October, she performed the song on Live with Regis and Kelly.[30] On October 21, Keys held "The Element of Freedom Lecture & Performance Series" at the New York University, free for students at the Tisch School of the Arts. Among the songs she performed included the then-new "Try Sleeping with a Broken Heart".[6] The song, produced by Keys and Jeff Bhasker, was released as the second single from the album.[27] The music video premiered on November 16.[31] Keys performed a medley of "Empire State of Mind", "Doesn't Mean Anything" and "No One" on the sixth season of The X Factor on November 29.[32] Keys performed a benefit concert at the Nokia Theater in New York City on December 1, where all the proceeds went to the Keep a Child Alive program. The concert—held on World AIDS Day—was streamed live via YouTube.[13][33] As part of the promotional drive for the album, she performed at the Cayman Islands Jazz Festival on December 5, the final night of the three-day festival which would be broadcast on BET.[34] The Element of Freedom was originally scheduled to be released that day, to correspond with World AIDS Day, but was pushed back to December 15 for additional recording.[15][35] According to the senior vice president of urban marketing for J Records, Keys "had a couple of more things in the oven and she wants this to be right [...] So we gave her the additional time she needed." Keys pointed out that she felt the album was being rushed for no reason.[3] In an interview with Scottish newspaper The Scotsman, she stated that it "seems unfair to have to rush these songs that were still coming and not allow them to be the best songs they could be. It was just two weeks' difference, but it made for an even better record".[8] On December 16, BET's 106 & Park hosted a two-hour special titled 106 & Keys, which consisted of a countdown of Keys' videos and a live performance.[3]

A week prior to its release, Keys streamed The Element of Freedom in its entirety on the peer-to-peer music streaming service Spotify,[36] as well as social networking website Facebook through a Facebook Platform. She became the first major recording artist in Facebook's history to do so.[37] The Element of Freedom was released in the United States on December 15, having been released internationally four days earlier. Its deluxe edition with two bonus tracks and a bonus DVD was released simultaneously with the standard edition; in the United States, both editions were accompanied by the double-disc Empire Edition. The "Alicia Keys & Friends" concert took place on January 7, 2010, at the Apollo Theater in New York City. In addition to her performances, Keys introduced new artists who also performed during the event.[38] Keys also performed on Saturday Night Live on January 9, followed by an AOL Music Sessions premiere on January 14. On February 14, Keys performed with recording artists Usher and Shakira at the 2010 NBA All-Star Game during halftime. At the show, Keys performed "No One" from her 2007 album As I Am. She also performed "Empire State of Mind" as well "Try Sleeping with a Broken Heart".[39] On March 3, Keys embarked on the North American leg of the Freedom Tour at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois. The European leg of the tour started in late April.[5][40] Keys performed at the Essence Music Festival taking place July 2–4, 2010.[41] In April, Keys announced a reissue of the album, which ultimately never materialized.[42]

Singles[edit]

Beyoncé performs on the single "Put It in a Love Song"

Keys released "Doesn't Mean Anything" as the lead single from The Element of Freedom on September 22, 2009.[43] Critics gave the song positive reviews, comparing it to previous singles "No One", "Superwoman" and "If I Ain't Got You".[44][45] In Europe, the song reached the top five in Switzerland[46] and top ten in the United Kingdom.[47] It peaked at number 14 on the US R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart but only managed to reach number 60 on the Billboard Hot 100.[48]

On November 17, 2009, Keys released the second single "Try Sleeping with a Broken Heart".[49] It received critical acclaim as the album's standout moment for its timeless synths and throwbacks to the 1980s.[50][51][52] The song was more successful than "Doesn't Mean Anything", reaching number two in Norway[53] and five in Denmark,[54] as well as number 27 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number two on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs.[48] It was later released in the United Kingdom as the album's third single, where it would go on to peak at number seven.[55]

"Put It in a Love Song", featuring Beyoncé, was released as the third single from the album in January 2010. It did best in Australia, where it peaked at number 18[56] and was certified gold by the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA).[57] However, it received only a limited release in the United States. Its accompanying music video was due to be released in March 2010[58] but was cancelled so "Un-Thinkable (I'm Ready)" could be pushed forward as a single instead.[59] Despite this, "Put It in a Love Song" peaked at number 60 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs.[48]

Following the album's release, Keys' version of "Empire State of Mind" charted due to digital sales. It was released as an international single in February 2010 and was the best charting single from the album in several territories. It peaked at number four in the UK,[60] six in the Netherlands,[61] and number eight in Ireland.[62] It also peaked at number 55 on the Billboard Hot 100.[48]

Meanwhile, in the United States, "Un-Thinkable (I'm Ready)" began to make its impact starting April 13.[63] It was the most successful single from the album in the US, topping the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs for 12 consecutive weeks,[64] as well as reaching number 21 on the Billboard Hot 100.[48] A remix featuring Drake was released on May 28.[65]

Following the birth of her first child on October 16, Keys revealed that "Wait Til You See My Smile" would be released as the next single in the UK on November 28.[66] However, it got pushed back to December 12. The single featured the aforementioned remix of "Un-Thinkable (I'm Ready)" as the B-side.[67] To promote the single, 12,000 filmmakers were invited over a period of six weeks to create a music video for the song. Keys then selected one of the six short-listed videos to be released as the song's official music video via YouTube and music television channels.[68]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic67/100[69]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic[23]
Chicago Tribune[70]
Entertainment WeeklyA−[21]
The Independent[24]
The Irish Times[71]
Los Angeles Times[72]
MSN Music (Consumer Guide)B[73]
Rolling Stone[74]
Spin5/10[75]
USA Today[76]

The Element of Freedom received generally positive reviews from critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream publications, it received an average score of 67, based on 14 reviews.[77] Andrew Burgess of musicOMH said that the album's production is "a perfect counterpoint to Keys' voice, and the sentiment she's trying to convey", while calling the album one of "the best pop albums of 2009".[25] Chicago Tribune writer Greg Kot called the album Keys' "most consistent album and also her most low-key", and found it less "forced or gimmicky" than her previous albums.[70] Killian Fox of The Observer called it "a confident, well-crafted modern soul record" that was made without "doing anything groundbreaking".[78] Los Angeles Times writer Randy Lewis wrote favorably of Keys' thematic approach, stating that she "digs deep into the multitude of implications of independence".[72] Leah Greenblatt of Entertainment Weekly said that Keys has "established herself as an increasingly rare thing in pop music: the class act", noting that the "often-banal lyrics" were carried by her "quicksilver" voice.[21] USA Today's Steve Jones called its songs "consistently strong and thematically cohesive", and found the album "more nuanced and intimate" than Keys' previous work.[76]

In a mixed review for The Independent, Simon Price found the songs monotonous and said that they "drift by disappointingly, anodyne and indistinguishable".[24] Rob Sheffield, writing in Rolling Stone, felt that the production "compresses [Keys'] voice, making it sound a lot less like her, especially on the ballads".[74] Mikael Wood of Spin accused Keys of being "uninterested in breaking new ground, snooze-controlling her way through a series of familiar piano-soul platitudes".[75] Tyler Lewis of PopMatters pointed out in his review "uninspiring, trendy electronica production, strident lead vocal performances, and banal lyricism".[79] Chicago Sun-Times writer Jim DeRogatis panned its lyrics as "empty cliches" and found the music pretentious.[80] Robert Christgau, writing for MSN Music, named it "dud of the month",[73] indicating "a bad record whose details rarely merit further thought".[81] He interpreted Keys' attempt at "melismatic pain" to be "formal ploy merely, a diva-by-default's privilege", and found it "far from a shock but definitely a disappointment to watch Ms. Trained Pianist survey her branding options and choose the bland card over the brains card".[73]

Accolades[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
2010  NAACP Image Award  Outstanding Album  The Element of Freedom  Nominated   
Outstanding Music Video  "Try Sleeping with a Broken Heart" Nominated
Outstanding Female Artist  Alicia Keys  Nominated 
2010 MTV Video Music Award Japan  Video of the Year  "Doesn't Mean Anything" Nominated   
Best R&B Video Nominated 
2010 Teen Choice Award Choice Music – R&B Artist Alicia Keys Nominated
Choice Music – Album The Element of Freedom Nominated
2010 Premios Oye! English Record of the Year Nominated
2010 American Music Award Favorite Soul/R&B Album Nominated
Favorite Soul/R&B Female Artist Alicia Keys Nominated
2010 Soul Train Music Award Best R&B/Soul Female Artist Won
Best Album of the Year The Element of Freedom Nominated
Best Song of the Year "Un-Thinkable (I'm Ready)" Nominated
The Ashford & Simpson Songwriter's Award Won
2010 MP3 Music Award The BFV Award "Try Sleeping with a Broken Heart" Nominated
The Record of the Year "Empire State of Mind (Part II) Broken Down" Nominated
2011 MTV Video Play Award "Try Sleeping with a Broken Heart"
Gold
Hungarian Music Award Modern Pop-Rock Album of the Year The Element of Freedom Nominated
Swiss Music Award Best Foreign Urban Album Nominated
NAACP Image Award Outstanding Music Video "Un-Thinkable (I'm Ready)" Won
New York Music Award Best R&B Single "Try Sleeping with a Broken Heart" Won
Best R&B Songwriter Alicia Keys Won
RTHK International Pop Poll Award Top Female Artist Nominated
Top Ten International Gold Songs "Put It in a Love Song" Nominated
2011 Billboard Music Award Top R&B Artist Alicia Keys Nominated
Top R&B Song "Un-Thinkable (I'm Ready)" Nominated
2011 BMI Urban Award Award Winning Songs Won
"Try Sleeping with a Broken Heart" Won

Commercial performance[edit]

The Element of Freedom debuted at number two on the US Billboard 200, selling 417,000 copies in its first week.[99] This became Keys' first album to not debut at number one on that chart. In its second week, the album fell to number four on the chart, selling an additional 280,000 copies.[100] In its third week, the album climbed to number three, selling 80,000 more copies.[101] In its fourth week, the album fell to number four, selling 62,000 copies.[102] As of July 2014, it had sold 1.6 million copies in the US.[103] On August 11, 2020, the album was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for combined sales and album-equivalent units of over two million units in the United States.[104]

In the United Kingdom, the album debuted at number 17 on the UK Albums Chart on December 20, 2009. It later climbed to number one on February 7, 2010, making it Keys' first album to ever to top the chart.[105] It also spent 13 consecutive weeks atop the UK R&B Albums Chart.[106] On July 22, 2013, the album was certified triple platinum by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) for sales of over 900,000 copies in the UK.[107] As of November 2016, the album has sold 1,015,071 copies in the United Kingdom.[108]

In Canada, the album entered the Canadian Albums Chart at number five,[109] and was certified platinum by the Music Canada (MC) on December 23, 2009 for shipments in excess of 80,000 units.[110] In mainland Europe, the album reached number one in Switzerland, while charting within the top five in the Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain, and the top 10 in Germany, Norway, and Poland.[111][112] As of August 2012, the album had sold over four million copies worldwide.[113]

Track listing[edit]

The Element of Freedom – Standard edition
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."The Element of Freedom" (Intro)  0:12
2."Love Is Blind"
  • Bhasker
  • Keys
3:49
3."Doesn't Mean Anything"
  • Brothers
  • Keys
4:32
4."Try Sleeping with a Broken Heart"Bhasker4:09
5."Wait Til You See My Smile"
  • Keys
  • Bhasker
4:01
6."That's How Strong My Love Is"KeysKeys4:04
7."Un-Thinkable (I'm Ready)"
  • Keys
  • Drake
  • Aubrey Graham
  • Brothers
  • Noah "40" Shebib
  • Keys
  • Brothers
  • 40
4:09
8."Love Is My Disease"
4:01
9."Like the Sea"
  • Keys
  • Bhasker
  • Keys
  • Bhasker
4:13
10."Put It in a Love Song" (featuring Beyoncé)
  • Keys
  • Dean
3:15
11."This Bed"
  • Keys
  • Brothers
  • Steve Mostyn
  • Keys
  • Brothers
3:45
12."Distance and Time"
  • Keys
  • Brothers
  • Mostyn
  • Keys
  • Brothers
4:27
13."How It Feels to Fly"
  • Keys
  • Brothers
  • Keys
  • Brothers
4:42
14."Empire State of Mind (Part II) Broken Down"
3:36
Total length:53:04
The Element of Freedom – Japanese edition (bonus tracks)[114]
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
15."Stolen Moments"
  • Keys
  • Brothers
4:52
16."Heaven's Door"
  • Keys
  • Brothers
  • Keys
  • Brothers
3:18
Total length:61:05
The Element of Freedom – Deluxe edition (bonus tracks)[115]
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
15."Through It All"
  • Keys
  • Brothers
  • Keys
  • Brothers
4:28
16."Pray for Forgiveness"
  • Keys
  • Brothers
4:44
Total length:62:17
The Element of Freedom – Japanese deluxe edition (bonus tracks)[1]
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
17."Stolen Moments"
  • Keys
  • Brothers
  • Green
  • Watson
  • Keys
  • Brothers
4:52
18."Heaven's Door"
  • Keys
  • Brothers
  • Keys
  • Brothers
3:18
Total length:70:27
The Element of Freedom – Deluxe edition (bonus DVD)[115]
No.TitleLength
1."Doesn't Mean Anything" (intimate studio performance)3:55
2."Empire State of Mind (Part II) Broken Down" (intimate studio performance)1:59
3."Try Sleeping with a Broken Heart" (intimate studio performance)3:39
4."No One" (intimate studio performance)4:09
5."Doesn't Mean Anything" (music video)5:13
Total length:18:55
The Element of Freedom – Empire Edition (bonus disc)[2]
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."Lover Man"
  • Keys
  • Brothers
  • Keys
  • Brothers
3:17
2."We're Almost There"
  • Beatz
  • Keys
3:37
3."No One" (live)
  • Keys
  • Brothers
  • George D. Harry
 4:00
4."Like You'll Never See Me Again" (live)
  • Keys
  • Brothers
 4:52
5."If I Ain't Got You" (live)Keys 4:44
6."Karma" (live)
  • Keys
  • Brothers
  • Taneisha Smith
 3:14
7."Fallin'" (live)Keys 3:33
Total length:27:17

Notes

  • ^a signifies a co-producer

Sample credits

Personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from the liner notes of the deluxe edition of The Element of Freedom.[116]

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[167] Gold 35,000^
Canada (Music Canada)[110] Platinum 80,000^
Denmark (IFPI Danmark)[168] Platinum 20,000double-dagger
France (SNEP)[169] Platinum 100,000*
Germany (BVMI)[170] Gold 100,000^
Italy (FIMI)[171] Gold 35,000*
Japan (RIAJ)[172] Gold 100,000^
Netherlands (NVPI)[173] Gold 25,000^
Poland (ZPAV)[174] Platinum 20,000*
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[159] Gold 30,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[175] Platinum 30,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[176] 3× Platinum 1,015,071[108]
United States (RIAA)[177] 2× Platinum 2,000,000double-dagger

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.
double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Release history[edit]

Release dates and formats for The Element of Freedom
Region Date Edition(s) Format(s) Label(s) Ref.
Australia December 11, 2009
  • Standard
  • deluxe
Sony Music
Germany
United Kingdom December 14, 2009 RCA
Argentina December 15, 2009 Sony Music
Brazil
Canada
United States
  • Standard
  • deluxe
  • empire
J
Japan December 16, 2009 Standard
  • CD
  • digital download
Sony Music
January 1, 2010 Deluxe CD+DVD

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Deluxe edition cover is a closer version of the standard edition one with a different background.[1] Empire Edition cover is a black-and-white, purple-tinged version of the deluxe edition one.[2]
  2. ^ Tracks 6, 11 and 12
  3. ^ Track 10
  4. ^ All tracks
  5. ^ Track 8
  6. ^ Tracks 13 and 14
  7. ^ Tracks 3–5 and 9
  8. ^ Tracks 3 and 10

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "The Element Of Freedom: Deluxe Edition : Alicia Keys". HMV Japan. Retrieved January 30, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c "Alicia Keys "Element Of Freedom (Exclusive Empire Edition)"". MyPlay Direct. Archived from the original on December 17, 2014. Retrieved December 13, 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d Mitchell, Gail (November 6, 2009). "The Alicia Keys 'Element' Billboard Cover Story & Video". Billboard. Retrieved March 23, 2013.
  4. ^ a b Fusilli, Jim (December 14, 2009). "Alicia Keys' "The Element of Freedom": An Interview and New Music Preview". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved December 14, 2009.
  5. ^ a b Eells, Josh. "Alicia Keys' Suburban Soul Factory". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on July 13, 2011. Retrieved October 31, 2009.
  6. ^ a b c Concepcion, Mariel (October 22, 2009). "Alicia Keys Debuts New Single for NYU Students". Billboard. Retrieved March 23, 2013.
  7. ^ "Alicia Keys Tackles Depression with Fourth Album". The Improper. December 2, 2009. Archived from the original on September 11, 2012. Retrieved December 3, 2009.
  8. ^ a b c Graff, Gary (February 1, 2010). "Interview: Alicia Keys, singer". The Scotsman. Retrieved January 30, 2017.
  9. ^ Vena, Jocelyn (November 5, 2009). "Jay-Z and Alicia Keys Record 'Empire State of Mind Part 2'". MTV News. Retrieved November 5, 2009.
  10. ^ Aswad, Jem; Vena, Jocelyn (December 4, 2009). "Alicia Keys Collabos with Beyoncé, Drake Hit the Net". MTV News. Retrieved December 11, 2009.
  11. ^ "Alicia Keys Enlists Drake for New Album". Rap-Up. November 15, 2009. Retrieved November 17, 2009.
  12. ^ Dinh, James (December 8, 2009). "Drake Calls Alicia Keys Collaboration 'One of the Best Moments of My Career'". MTV News. Retrieved December 11, 2009.
  13. ^ a b Concepcion, Mariel (November 24, 2009). "Alicia Keys Confirms Beyoncé, Drake Collaborations on 'Freedom'". Billboard. Retrieved March 23, 2013.
  14. ^ Potton, Ed (December 18, 2009). "Alicia Keys lets rip". The Times. Archived from the original on June 15, 2011. Retrieved February 14, 2010.
  15. ^ a b Concepcion, Mariel (October 9, 2009). "Alicia Keys Reveals 'Freedom' Details". Billboard. Retrieved March 23, 2013.
  16. ^ Lambert, Molly (2010-12-13). "The Top 100 Tracks of 2010: The Element of Freedom (Alicia Keys)". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 2011-02-25.
  17. ^ a b c d Ratliff, Ben (December 13, 2009). "New CDs from Alicia Keys, Timbaland and Jimmy Buffett – Review". The New York Times. Retrieved December 14, 2009.
  18. ^ "Alicia Keys and the Freedom of love". Houston Chronicle. December 14, 2009. Retrieved December 14, 2009.
  19. ^ Farber, Jim. Review: The Element of Freedom. New York Daily News. Retrieved on 2010-02-14.
  20. ^ a b Stewart, Allison (2009-12-15). "'Element' is another safe, uninspiring album from R&B star Alicia Keys." The Washington Post. Retrieved on 2010-02-14.
  21. ^ a b c Greenblatt, Leah (December 9, 2009). "The Element of Freedom (2009)". Entertainment Weekly. Time. Retrieved December 10, 2009.
  22. ^ a b Cole, Matthew (December 14, 2009). "Alicia Keys, The Element of Freedom – Review". Slant Magazine. Archived from the original on December 20, 2009. Retrieved December 14, 2009.
  23. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "The Element of Freedom – Alicia Keys". AllMusic. Retrieved January 30, 2017.
  24. ^ a b c Price, Simon (December 13, 2009). "Album: Alicia Keys, The Element of Freedom, (Sony)". The Independent. Archived from the original on January 1, 2010. Retrieved December 13, 2009.
  25. ^ a b Burgess, Andrew (December 14, 2009). "Alicia Keys – The Element of Freedom". MusicOMH. Retrieved December 14, 2009.
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External links[edit]