Monday, June 14th, 2010

Alicia Keys – Un-Thinkable (I’m Ready)

Yes, we’ve used this picture before, but SHE BRINGS A DOG BACK TO LIFE…


John Seroff: How boring is Alicia Keys these days? Boring enough that “the unthinkable” translates as Montague/Capulet love in the video and simple elopement in the song. Reverb stands in for soul, Phil Collins drum fills cover the not-much-happening and there’s Keys in the middle biding time until the inevitable Vegas residency.

Hillary Brown: For a woman with such presence, Keys sure can turn in a thin, uninspiring performance at times, and this is one of those, in the kind of meandering song that really requires a strong vocal to carry it. Maybe it’s nice not to have a belter at times, but this isn’t the occasion for that sort of restraint.

Chuck Eddy: Really hate the parts where she whispers like the detached hushy chick in TLC. But when she opens her mouth up, her mushiness gets a little body to it. So yeah, speaking of little bodies, I don’t doubt that a few people will make babies to this.

Anthony Easton: Vocal gymnastics with little or no feeling, and I am still confused what she is ready for.

Martin Skidmore: You shouldn’t pay much attention to my opinions: someone I like told me this was great, so I tried to like it. I nearly managed it, too. There is a fragility in her singing, suiting the rather sombre mood well, but in the end she sounded too confidently classy and slick to quite sell me on her emotions. I do think it’s one of her best singles, since I can’t often even get close to feeling her.

Al Shipley: The first couple times Alicia Beatz née Keys got all breathy and restrained on “Like You’ll Never See Me Again” and “Try Sleeping With A Broken Heart”, it was a refreshing change of pace from all that banshee belting earlier in her career. Now, the novelty’s worn off, and “Undashthinkable” comes off more sleepy than quietly passionate.

Alfred Soto: The gauze-and-chiffon ambiences of Keys’ recent singles has been hell on my abilities to conjure the odium with which I usually greet this Respectable Singer’s work. At best I’m indifferent to this latest example, through whose opulent murk she glides, slides, and elides. I hope that she chokes.

Katherine St Asaph: Alicia Keys forgoes Chamber of Commerce-n-b and cold classiness for something absolutely brilliant. The instrumental is gorgeous, like a richer Everything But The Girl, and Alicia wisely steps back to let it work. Miraculously, so does Drake (although I haven’t heard his verse on the remix, so maybe he managed to fuck it up anyway). It’s the best song she’s done in years, certainly among the best songs Drake was in, and quite possibly one of the best songs of 2010.

Michaelangelo Matos: Great: her boudoir showstopper is as coy and banal as the rest of it.

Jonathan Bogart: I don’t object to her calling sex unthinkable, since for many of the thirteen-year-old girls who constitute the baseline pop audience, it is scary and unintelligible and fascinating and Wrong. But there’s not enough of that drama in the music. Maybe if Ryan Tedder had produced, it would be appropriately epic. Instead it’s just kind of soggy and forgettable.

3 Responses to “Alicia Keys – Un-Thinkable (I’m Ready)”

  1. Oh god, Ryan Tedder would fuck this up in so many ways I can’t even keep count. (Also not sure 13-year-olds are the target audience here; Alicia’s always been marketed a bit older.)

  2. I actually shuddered at Jonathan’s mention of Ryan Tedder. Katherine is right, he would fuck this up unbelievably. Let us never speak of that hack again. Anyway, I really like this as a slow burn, non-epic counterpoint to the behemoth “Try Sleeping With A Broken Heart”, though the whatever lyrics and THAT BLOODY HYPHEN would necessitate the loss of a couple of points.

    But seriously – I demand a moratorium on bandying words like “classy” and “respectable” around and acting like they automatically have negative connotations. They really don’t! Explain your dislike more!

  3. You underestimate Keys’ Medusa talent: she turns respectability into stone.