eMusic Review 0
The Ingénue grows up. Fresh off her five Grammy wins for her 12-times-platinum debut, 2002's steely-but-bland Songs in A Minor, the much-hyped, glued-to-her-piano-bench protégé of record impresario Clive Davis discovers some funk to go along with her affection for "classy" classic soul. Sprinkling in collaborations with producers Kanye West (the wondrous "You Don't Know My Name") and Timbaland (the Stevie-channeling "Heartburn"), along with several self-produced efforts, Keys reinvents herself as a belting diva, a '70s-slurping hero worshipper, and a damned good songwriter. Her diaristic portraits are vague, but inviting; ruthlessly catchy, and simply arranged. Though at times it's hard to tell which decade this album was recorded in — "If I Ain't Got You" is pure Atlantic-era Aretha — the occasional hip-hop influence creeps in. Whether nodding at The Notorious B.I.G. on "If I Was Your Woman," or flirting with (gasp!) a drum machine on the otherwise staid "Slow Down," Keys is not simply a woman out of time. She's an R&B classicist, tirelessly working to foment interest in the past, without adhering to the tricks of the present.