Music review: Alicia Keys' "Brand New Me"

Dec 18, 2012 at 10:48 a.m. ET

In this ballad, Alicia Keys strums the chords of past pain and makes a liberating melody.

Alicia Keys

One woman's journey

Co-written by Emeli Sandé, the track is adorned with meaningful lyrics about the path it takes for you to find out who you are, and the strength it takes to rise up from discontentment. The arrangement is contemplative and the singing is soulful — it's a solid follow-up to the hit "Girl on Fire" (although entirely different in sound).

"It's been a while, I'm not who I was before
You look surprised, your words don't burn me anymore
Been meaning to tell you, but I guess it's clear to see
Don't be mad, it's just the brand-new kind of me"

The dark, vivid picture she paints in the first few lines of the song seems like the artist could be drawing from a personal connection.

In a quote taken from Hypetrak, Alicia Keys says:

"There may be people in your life that knew you for a long time and they think of you only as the person you used to be and not the person you now are!"

The "people" she mentions sounds a little vague when the song is pretty direct about an identity. The single clearly dictates the pitfalls of a man-woman relationship — whether it be romantic or not, is up to you to infer. I find it particularly ironic that Keys dubbed her fifth album Girl on Fire, because she sings with fire.

"Finding bravery, letting go and being myself”

The above quote was taken from Hypetrak when it quoted Keys talking about the song. Perhaps, I have my answer about a personal connection to the song. I wonder what gentleman was blind enough to mistreat this beautiful and talented songstress?

It doesn't matter because she is at the height of her career, has started a new family with husband Swizz Beatz, and has a loyal fan base. I cannot wait to find more favorites off of her latest album!

Be sure to take a listen!

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Rihanna feat. Mikky Ekko "Stay"

Christina Perri "Something About December"