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Ranking Alicia Keys Albums, From Worst to Best

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Alicia Keys, an icon in the realm of pop music, has consistently dazzled us with her lyrical genius and unforgettable melodies. The Grammy winning, classically trained pianist turned R&B superstar has an impressive discography, featuring live performances, remixes, and studio albums that highlight her dynamic range and versatility.

At the crux of her work lies the profoundly personal ‘Songs In A Minor’, a debut that cemented her place in music history. She’s kept the momentum going with albums like the introspective ‘The Diary of Alicia Keys’, the electrifying ‘Girl On Fire’, the raw ‘HERE’, and the mature and reflective ‘ALICIA’. Each record tells a story; each note, each lyric, a diary entry in her illustrious career.

She’s also shown her diverse musical palette with live performances from around the globe, like ‘Inolvidable Buenos Aires Argentina’ and ‘Inesquecivel Sao Paulo Brazil’. So now, let’s get into it, from ‘Songs In A Minor’ to ‘The Diary Of Alicia Keys 20’, here are Alicia Keys albums ranked.



Released: 2016

Label: RCA Records Label

Features: A$AP Rocky

Released in 2016, the album oozes New York–it’s gritty, it’s raw, it’s real. Keys ditches the glossy production and dives straight into the heart of the city that raised her. Conceptually, “Here” is a socially conscious tapestry, tackling themes like racial disparity and female empowerment. Though it didn’t light up the charts like her previous offerings, it earned a gold certification, signifying its resonance with fans. “Here” is Keys in her gritty, true form; it’s a love letter to her city, her people, and herself.



Released: 2021

Label: RCA Records Label

Features: Pusha T, Brandi Carlile, Swae Lee, Lil Wayne, Khalid, Lucky Daye

The double-album is segmented into ‘Originals’ and ‘Unlocked’, further amplifying the dual tonality of the record. The former half shows Keys’ signature soulful sound, laced with elements of hip-hop and gospel, whilst the latter alights into a realm of pop-y, electronic soundscapes. The album is a firm reminder of Alicia’s breadth as an artist, deftly showcasing her boundless creativity and versatility. From the hustle anthem “Best of Me” to the ethereal “Old Memories”, “KEYS” is a testament to Alicia’s evolution and her continued relevance in the ever-changing pop landscape.



Released: 2022

Label: RCA Records Label

Features: Pusha T, Brandi Carlile, Lucky Daye, Black Coffee, Swae Lee, Lil Wayne, Khalid, Brent Faiyaz, Kaskade

The album is an unfettered exploration of her own psyche, touching on her battles with self-identity and societal expectations. This sequel, released in 2022, works as a quieter, introspective sibling to its predecessor, “KEYS I,” bringing listeners into an intimate dialogue with Alicia’s heart. It doesn’t aim to top charts, but rather to forge deep connections. “KEYS II” may not bring the razzle-dazzle, but it embodies the confessional authenticity that has been Alicia’s core musical ethos from the start.

6. Girl On Fire

Girl On Fire

Released: 2012

Label: RCA Records Label

Features: Nicki Minaj, Maxwell

A melding pot of pop, R&B, and soul, this album served the masses with hits, whilst keeping true to Alicia’s introspective style. The title track, a fist-pumping anthem of self-empowerment, saw Keys riding atop Billboard charts. However, beneath the anthems and euphoria, the album divulges into more intimate and raw narratives, unveiling a more nuanced, mature side of Keys’ artistry. This balance between commercial appeal and sincere songwriting is a testament of Alicia’s ability to straddle both worlds, making “Girl on Fire” a milestone in her discography.



Released: 2020

Label: RCA Records Label

Features: Diamond Platnumz, Sampha, Tierra Whack, Miguel, Khalid, Snoh Aalegra, Jill Scott, SiR, Brandi Carlile, Kaash Paige

Seizing control of the narrative, Keys incorporates elements of pop, R&B and soul, concocting an album that’s musically experimental yet intrinsically Alicia. Its release in the throes of 2020 intensifies the introspective tracks like ‘Underdog’ and ‘Good Job’, transforming them into anthems of resilience. Other standout tracks like ‘So Done’, a captivating duet with Khalid, showcase her adaptability. ‘ALICIA’ is a bold reflection of the artist’s evolution, cementing her place as a bona fide queen of contemporary pop and R&B.”

4. As I Am

As I Am (Expanded Edition)

Released: 2007

Label: J Records

Features: John Mayer, Jack White

It’s one of those albums where every track can stand alone as a single, yet they all coalesce into a beautiful narrative when listened to as a collective whole. Standouts like “No One” and “Like You’ll Never See Me Again” showcase Alicia’s knack for heartfelt lyricism, coupled with a voice as soulful as a Sunday morning Gospel choir. This expanded edition offers additional tracks, breathing new life into an already vibrant album. To date, “As I Am” remains a pivotal moment in Keys’ career, setting a new benchmark for her and the contemporary R&B genre.

3. Songs In A Minor

Songs In A Minor

Released: 2001

Label: J Records

Keys. Released in 2001, her debut album marked a seismic shift in pop music. Sophisticated and introspective, the album effortlessly weaved together elements of classical music, R&B, and soul. The standout track ‘Fallin” became a chart-topping juggernaut and served as a perfect encapsulation of the album’s blend of genres. Drawing from a rich tapestry of musical influences, Keys set herself apart with her prodigious piano playing and her soulful, bluesy vocals. “Songs In A Minor” signified the arrival of a strikingly original talent and laid the foundation for Keys’ distinguished career.

2. The Element Of Freedom

The Element Of Freedom

Released: 2009

Label: J Records

Features: Beyoncé

It blended her signature piano balladry with a heaping helping of synthesizers, marking a foray into electronic beats. Standouts like “Try Sleeping with a Broken Heart” and her duet with Beyoncé, “Put It In a Love Song”, championed this shift. Yet, amidst this sonic exploration, she didn’t completely abandon her roots with “Empire State of Mind (Part II) Broken Down” paying homage to her beloved NYC. An audacious risk that paid off, “The Element of Freedom” underscored Keys’ artistic growth, showcasing her knack for reinvention while becoming a Billboard chart mainstay.

1. The Diary Of Alicia Keys

The Diary Of Alicia Keys

Released: 2003

Label: J Records

Features: Tony! Toni! Toné!, Jermaine Paul, Lellow

Released in 2003, it still carries the hip-hop-infused R&B essence of her ‘Songs in A Minor’ debut, but nudges her sound towards a more mature and sophisticated direction. Tracks like “You Don’t Know My Name” and the Grammy-winning “If I Ain’t Got You” spotlight her unrivaled ability to weave stories of love and longing with evocative melodies. This album rightfully earned her several Grammy Awards, reinforcing her position as a protagonist in the narrative of 2000s pop music.

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