Alicia Keys: The Title of Her 1st Album is Kind of a Lie, Actually

by Jeremy Spirogis
Alicia Keys with a book

Alicia Keys conquered the pop charts, received Grammy Awards and have become an icon — all whereas partaking in what some could take into account false promoting. The title of one in every of her albums is a categorically false description of the music contained inside. Here’s a have a look at why the album’s identify was a lie — and the way critics reacted to that album.

Alicia Keys with a book
Alicia Keys | John Lamparski/Getty Images

Only 1 tune on this Alicia Keys album lives as much as the album’s title

First, a bit of background. Keys has typically made music paying homage to old-school soul artists like Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield, or Stevie Wonder. Many critics and followers imagine Wonder’s finest work was his album Songs within the Key of Life. Keys would launch a similarly-titled report whose identify has its points.

Key’s debut report — which incorporates hits like “Fallin’” and “A Woman’s Worth” — is known as Songs in A Minor. There’s only one drawback: in response to Complex, solely one of many songs on the album is in the important thing of A minor. The tune in query is likely one of the album’s lesser-known tracks: “Jane Doe.” Thus, the title of the album isn’t precisely truthful — for those who take it actually.

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“Jane Doe”

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What the title of ‘Songs in a Minor’ means

According to the e-book I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll (Except When I Hate It): Extremely Important Stuff About the Songs and Bands You Love, Hate, Love to Hate,and Hate to Love, the title of the album was initially Soul Stories in A Minor. However, music executives Clive Davis apprehensive that title would trigger solely soul music stations to play the album. Subsequently, the album was renamed Songs in A Minor — with the title being a play on Key’s identify, which begins with the letter “a.” The title is smart for those who see it as a pun fairly than an correct description of the album.

How critics reacted to ‘Songs in A Minor’

So the title of the album is inaccurate ultimately. This raises an fascinating query: How did critics react to Songs in A Minor? Did its title forestall it from being acclaimed? According to, Songs in A Minor garnered the Grammy Award for Best R&B Albums. Keys received a number of awards on the identical ceremony, together with Best New Artist, Best R&B Song for “Fallin’,” and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance for a similar observe. In a Stereogum interview, Keys opened up about her response to her wins.

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“I was like, ‘That’s it!’” Keys mentioned. “But it was very powerful and unforgettable. To have received that level of acknowledgement for that particular body of work — which was all produced and written by me as a super-young shorty finding the competence and the words to put out there — was definitely an honor. But I was completely overwhelmed.” Did Keys count on the album to do nicely?

“I by no means anticipated the response to be what it was going to be for Songs In A Minor,” she mentioned. “I had been working so long to try to make it come to life and it felt like it would never happen, you know?”

Alicia Keys was ‘scared’ by the success of the album

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“A Woman’s Worth”

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However, the acclaim scared her in a method. “It was totally surreal,” she recalled. “But when they started calling my name, I was so nervous, so scared, and so excited because this was everything I’d worked for ever since I was a little girl. I couldn’t believe that it was real. I went through so many challenges to be able to keep my own identity.” Critics beloved Songs in A Minor — even when its title is offbeat.

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