Friday, September 14th, 2012

Alicia Keys – Girl on Fire

In her spare time, Alicia Keys writes Hunger Games fan fiction…


[Video][Website]
[4.88]

Katherine St Asaph: Alicia Keys sounds like an American Idol contestant auditioning with Alicia Keys, and the track does nothing, but the real problem here involves the fire, or what’s on it: 1. She’s hot like a flame. 2. She’s on fire. 3. She lives in a world on fire. 4. She’s walking on fire. 5. She’s like a match to the flame. 6. She is the match to the flame. 7. She’s really just the flame. 8. She’s on top of the world, which may or may not be on fire. 9. Alicia Keys is a girl on fire. 10. Alicia Keys is the match to the flame. 11. I’m sure I missed one, between the feet on the ground (possibly on fire) and head in the clouds (probably not on fire) and the loneliness/determination/destruction/muddled whatever. You can’t produce girl power with this many crossed wires.
[2]

Brad Shoup: So… “like a match to a flame”. Does it depict a spatial relationship or a conceptual one? I ask this because Keys’ presence is just so open, and it’s hard to take head-on. She’s not obviously raging, sure, but her jittery excitement over a light repetitive guitar figure drives this from the realm of quiet storm.
[6]

Jonathan Bradley: Keys can sound on fire, but not when doused in these watery synths. Even disregarding that, this is a song sketch at best: “Nobody knows that she’s a lonely girl/and it’s a lonely world/But she’s gonna let it burn” is a passable koan, but it’s the only real idea in the whole track. The rest is just Keys riffing on the title.
[4]

Alfred Soto: The soaking-in-them atmospherics work as many wonders for Keys’s melismatic self-absorption as Diplo’s did for Usher, but then the chorus reveals once again how little she has to say and how poorly her resources can meet these needs.
[4]

Edward Okulicz: Keys has come to the conclusion that the word “fire” is so intrinsically evocative and expressive that merely singing it will magically produce sounds that evoke desire, pain, passion, sacrifice, or other things that fire symbolises, but she sings the word and it sounds like any other emotional lead balloon she’s dropped. It’s not even a good bit of self-shredding like “If I Ain’t Got You” or “Try Sleeping With a Broken Heart” this time. The myriad uses of the word don’t seem to matter and “Girl on Fire” meanders into meaninglessness. Draining, chugging meaninglessness at that.
[2]

Anthony Easton: Glad that her voice retains its previous power. Her singing onomatopoeic syllables interests me more than other words, and I am not sure what “this girl is on fire” means exactly, but it’s a thorough workout.
[7]

Jonathan Bogart: The Inferno version with Nicki Minaj is far better, and not just because Keys sounds less asleep. I do like the care with which she brushes up against the barely-rough edges of her voice here (hardly sandpaper, more like rubbing velvet against the grain), but more immediacy and forward thrust can only help to distract from the undercooked songwriting.
[7]

Patrick St. Michel: The decision to release “Girl On Fire” in three forms seems like a clear attempt at pulling in as many demographics as possible. The original appeals to those who have been with Keys for the long haul, while the “Inferno Version” thaws out two Nicki Minaj verses for those who need a big pop-rap name to hit play. But who exactly is the “Bluelight Version,” the one going under the Jukebox microscope, made for? The scaled-back sound and minimalist beat makes me think this was designed as the version thrown to the critics, especially the ones who showered “Un-thinkable (I’m Ready)” with praise, an icier cut that will preemptively keep talk away from the sampled-to-excess “Big Beat” drums. The “Bluelight Version” lacks the rising tension of “Un-thinkable” and sounds content to just flicker on until it dwindles out, but it’s also the best of the three. I guess I’m part of this target demographic. 
[7]

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