The Element of Freedom Album -Tracklist, Production, Themes

The Element of Freedom is the fourth studio album by American singer and songwriter Alicia Keys. Released on December 11, 2009, the album showcases a departure from Keys’ classic soul music style, embracing a mid-tempo, low-key sound with predominantly love-themed songs. Produced primarily by Keys herself, along with Kerry Brothers Jr. and Jeff Bhasker, the album received positive reviews from critics for its cohesive style and Keys’ soulful vocals. This article delves into the album’s release and promotion, its themes and lyrics, the recording and production process, as well as its commercial performance.

 ✔️ Quick Review

  • Album: The Element of Freedom
  • Artist: Alicia Keys
  • Genre: Pop ,R&B, soul
  • Length: 53 minutes and 04 seconds
  • Label: J
  • Released: December 11, 2009

Release and Promotion:

“The Element of Freedom” was released on December 11, 2009, by J Records. Leading up to the album’s release, several promotional activities were undertaken. Keys performed the lead single, “Doesn’t Mean Anything,” on various television shows and award ceremonies, generating anticipation for the album. The track was well-received, showcasing Keys’ emotive vocals and relatable lyrics. Additionally, a music video was released to accompany the single, further boosting its exposure.

As the album’s release date approached, a promotional campaign was launched, including interviews, magazine covers, and online marketing. Keys appeared on popular talk shows and participated in interviews, discussing the creative process behind the album and its significance in her artistic journey. This promotional push helped to generate buzz and awareness among both her existing fan base and new listeners.

Themes and Lyrics:

The Element of Freedom predominantly explores themes of love, relationships, and personal growth. Keys’ songwriting delves into the complexities of human emotions, showcasing vulnerability and introspection. Tracks like “Try Sleeping with a Broken Heart” and “Un-thinkable (I’m Ready)” depict the challenges and triumphs of love, offering relatable narratives for listeners.

Lyrically, the album emphasizes empowerment and self-discovery. Keys encourages listeners to embrace their individuality and find strength within themselves. Songs like “Empire State of Mind (Part II) Broken Down” and “Put It in a Love Song” convey a sense of resilience and determination, urging listeners to overcome obstacles and pursue their dreams.

Recording and Production:

The recording sessions for The Element of Freedom took place from May to September 2009 at the Oven Studios in Long Island, New York. Keys took a more hands-on approach to the production, collaborating closely with Kerry Brothers Jr. and Jeff Bhasker. The album’s sound is characterized by its mid-tempo beats, atmospheric instrumentation, and Keys’ soulful vocals.

The production process involved a blend of live instrumentation and electronic elements. Keys incorporated piano, which has always been her signature instrument, into many of the songs, lending a personal touch to the album. The lush arrangements, combined with Keys’ emotive delivery, create a captivating sonic experience that complements the lyrical themes.

The Element of Freedom Album banner
The Element of Freedom Album banner

Commercial Performance:

The Element of Freedom debuted at number two on the US Billboard 200 chart, selling 417,000 copies in its first week. The album’s success was aided by its well-received lead single, “Doesn’t Mean Anything,” and subsequent singles such as “Try Sleeping with a Broken Heart” and “Empire State of Mind (Part II) Broken Down.” These singles received significant radio airplay and charted well, contributing to the album’s commercial performance.

Within a month of its release, The Element of Freedom was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and went on to achieve double-platinum status. The album’s global sales surpassed four million copies by August 2012, solidifying Alicia Keys’ position as a commercially successful artist.

Tracklist, writer-producer, and duration

No.TitleWriter’sProducer’sDuration
1.The Element of Freedom” (Intro) Alicia Keys Alicia Keys0:12
2.Love Is BlindAlicia Keys, Jeff BhaskerBhaskerKeys3:49
3.Doesn’t Mean AnythingKeysKerry “Krucial” Brothers, Jr.BrothersKeys4:32
4.Try Sleeping with a Broken HeartBhaskerKeys, Patrick “Plain Pat” ReynoldsBhasker4:09
5.Wait Til You See My SmileAlicia Keys & Jeff BhaskerAlicia Keys, Jeff Bhasker & Swizz Beatz4:01
6.“That’s How Strong My Love Is”Alicia KeysAlicia Keys4:04
7.“Un-Thinkable (I’m Ready)”Keys Drake Aubrey Graham BrothersNoah “40” ShebibKeysBrothers404:09
8.“Love Is My Disease”Keys Brothers Toby GadMeleni SmithBrothersGad4:01
9.“Like the Sea”KeysBhaskerKeysBhasker4:13
10.“Put It in a Love Song” (featuring Beyoncé)KeysDeanSwizz BeatzKeys3:15
11.“This Bed”Keys Brothers Steve MostynKeysBrothers3:45
12.“Distance and Time”KeysBrothersMostynKeysBrothers4:27
13.“How It Feels to Fly”KeysBrothersKeysBrothers4:42
14.“Empire State of Mind (Part II) Broken Down”Keys Al Shuckburgh Shawn CarterJane’t “Jnay” Sewell-Ulepic Angela HunteBert Keyes Sylvia RobinsonAl ShuxKeys3:36
Total Duration:53:04

Analyzing the tracklist of Alicia Keys’ album “The Element of Freedom” provides insights into the themes and meanings behind each song. Here is a breakdown of the tracklist and its significance:

“Element of Freedom (Intro)”:


The album opens with an introductory track that sets the tone for the overall theme of freedom. It serves as an invitation for listeners to explore the emotional journey and self-discovery portrayed throughout the album.

“Love Is Blind”:


This song delves into the complexities of love and relationships. It explores the idea that love can sometimes blind us to the flaws or negative aspects of a person or a situation.

“Doesn’t Mean Anything”:


With this track, Alicia Keys reflects on the pursuit of success and how it doesn’t necessarily guarantee happiness or fulfillment. It encourages listeners to find meaning and purpose beyond material achievements.

“Try Sleeping with a Broken Heart”:


A powerful and emotionally charged song, it explores the struggle of moving on from a broken relationship. Keys acknowledges the pain but also empowers herself to find strength and heal.

“Wait Til You See My Smile”:


This uplifting track encourages resilience and perseverance in the face of challenges. It emphasizes the idea that a genuine smile can be a symbol of inner strength and overcoming obstacles.

“That’s How Strong My Love Is”:


In this song, Alicia Keys expresses the depth and intensity of her love. It showcases the strength and unwavering nature of love, highlighting its ability to withstand difficulties and hardships.

“Un-Thinkable (I’m Ready)”:


One of the album’s most popular tracks, it explores the idea of forbidden love and breaking societal norms. Keys sings about embracing love despite its unconventional or unexpected nature.

“Love Is My Disease”:


This song depicts love as an addictive and all-consuming force. Keys compares love to a disease, showcasing its power to impact and influence one’s life.

“Like the Sea”:


“Like the Sea” evokes a sense of emotional depth and vastness. It compares the intensity and unpredictability of love to the vastness of the sea, emphasizing the overwhelming nature of love’s emotions.

“Put It in a Love Song” (feat. Beyoncé):


A collaboration with Beyoncé, this track celebrates the joy and excitement of love. It encourages the expression of love through music and emphasizes the power of love to unite people.

“This Bed”:


A song about intimacy and vulnerability, it explores the complexities of a romantic relationship and the comfort found within the confines of a shared bed.

“Distance and Time”:


This track reflects on the challenges of maintaining a relationship despite physical or emotional distance. It explores the endurance and dedication required to make a relationship work.

“How It Feels to Fly”:


A contemplative and introspective song, it captures the exhilarating feeling of personal growth and transformation. It explores the liberation and freedom that come with overcoming obstacles and limitations.

“Empire State of Mind (Part II) Broken Down”:


A stripped-down version of Jay-Z’s hit song, this track reflects on New York City as a symbol of ambition, dreams, and resilience. It portrays the city as a source of inspiration and personal empowerment.

FAQs:

Q: What is the release date of “The Element of Freedom” album?
A: “The Element of Freedom” was released on December 11, 2009.

Q: Who produced “The Element of Freedom” album?
A: The album was primarily produced by Alicia Keys herself, along with Kerry Brothers Jr. and Jeff Bhasker.

Q: What are some notable songs on the album?
A: Some notable songs on “The Element of Freedom” include “Doesn’t Mean Anything,” “Try Sleeping with a Broken Heart,” “Empire State of Mind (Part II) Broken Down,” and “Un-thinkable (I’m Ready).”

Q: How was the album received by critics?
A: The album received generally positive reviews from music critics, who praised its low-key style, cohesiveness, and Alicia Keys’ soulful vocals. However, some critics had mixed opinions about the album’s lyrics.

Q: How did “The Element of Freedom” perform commercially?
A: The album debuted at number two on the US Billboard 200 chart, selling 417,000 copies in its first week. It was certified platinum by the RIAA within a month of its release and went on to achieve double-platinum status. By August 2012, the album had sold over four million copies worldwide.

Conclusion:

“The Element of Freedom” is a notable album in Alicia Keys’ discography, showcasing her artistic growth and exploration of new musical territories. With its mid-tempo, low-key sound and predominantly love-themed songs, the album received positive reviews from critics for its cohesive style and Keys’ soulful vocals. The album’s release and promotion were supported by various promotional activities, including performances, interviews, and a strong online presence.

Thematically, the album delves into love, relationships, empowerment, and self-discovery, resonating with listeners through relatable narratives and heartfelt lyrics. The recording and production process involved a combination of live instrumentation and electronic elements, with Keys taking an active role in the creative process. The album’s commercial success was evident, debuting at number two on the Billboard 200 chart and achieving platinum certification within a month of its release.

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