|Personnel: Alicia Keys (vocals, piano, Fender Rhodes piano, harpsichord, Wurlitzer organ, Mellotron, bass synthesizer, Moog synthesizer, vocoder, background vocals); Alicia Keys (synthesizer, string synthesizer, programming); Jack Splash (various instruments, programming); John Salvatore Scaglione (guitar, guitars); John Mayer (guitar, background vocals); Ron Haney, Peter Thorn, Rony Henry, John Jubu Smith (guitar); Everette K. Harp (saxophone); Darryl Dixon , Darryl Dixon (alto saxophone); David Stout (trumpet); Mark Batson (piano, Clavinet, Hammond b-3 organ, Moog synthesizer, programming, drum programming); Damon Fox (Hammond b-3 organ, Mellotron, Moog synthesizer); Mark Robohm, Mark Robham (drums); L.C. Green, L. Green (background vocals); David Ryan Harris (guitar); Steve Mostyn (acoustic guitar, bass guitar); David Watson (tenor saxophone); Carl Maraghi (baritone saxophone); Duane Eubanks, Jumaane Smith (trumpet); Jason Sugata (French horn); Harry Kim (trombone); Michael Dease (tenor trombone, bass trombone); Ryan Keberle (tenor trombone); Linda Perry (piano, background vocals); Paul Ill, Sean Hurley (bass guitar); Trevor Lawrence (drums, percussion); Steve Jordan (drums); Kerry Brothers (drum programming); Alonzo "Novel" Stevenson, Harold Lilly (background vocals); Ann Mincieli.
|The third full-length from contemporary R&B diva Alicia Keys is called AS I AM, a title that adequately reflects the album's straightforward, confessional soul-pop. Keys built her popularity making stylish, reflective, voice-and-piano music; AS I AM continues that trend, albeit in a poppier vein that balances neatly between neo-soul and adult contemporary. This is reflected in the midtempo grooves, songs of empowerment ("Superwoman"), and stirring ballads ("The Thing About Love"). Keys' collaborators on the album include songwriter Linda Perry, who co-wrote three of the album's tracks, and John Mayer, who twines voices with Keys on the sensual "Lesson Learned." Top-notch arrangements, which include gorgeous, retro-tinged flourishes via strings and horns, make the set shimmer, but it's the strength of the hook-heavy tunes and Keys' moving performances that make AS I AM stick. It's not the five-star album she's capable of, but it leaves little doubt that Keys is moving steadily in that direction.