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The Boston Globe

Music

Album Review | R&B

Alicia Keys’s sensual ‘Girl on Fire’ burns bright

After an instrumental prelude, Alicia Keys begins her new album with a misleading observation. “It’s been a while/ I’m not who I was before,” she sings at the start of “Brand New Me.” In truth, on “Girl on Fire,” the R&B songstress picks up right where she left off on 2009’s underrated “The Element of Freedom.”

The difference is that Keys has rarely ever sounded so at ease, so downright sensual, as she does as her latest. It’s her first record since giving birth to her son, Egypt, and the newfound emphasis on looking inward recalls the mood of Beyoncé’s “4.”

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