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Monday, May 21, 2012


Alicia Keys - "Fallin'" (2001)

The album is called Songs in A Minor the song is in E Minor

Two chords. 60 beats a minute. Two verses, a chorus that is only two lines long and repeated at least 6 times. How does this get under my skin so well? Under all our skin? A quick history: Alicia Augello Cook was born in New York City in 1981. She was on The Cosby Show as a young child as a friend of Rudy's. She learned to play piano, got into Columbia University, dropped out after a month and focused on her career full time. She was signed at Columbia Records and didn't do much. She recorded a few songs for compilation albums, but her own debut album languished in executive meddling hell until she finally went and spoke to legendary studio executive Clive Davis. Davis signed her to Arista, but then when he left he took her to his new label Jive. Alicia Keys as she was called by then finally got to release her album and after an appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show became a household name.

I admit that I was fooled by modern technology. That is not a drum set, it is a drum machine, programed by a longtime collaborator of Keys: Kerry Brothers Jr.  Brothers has co-written a number of songs with Keys, but on this song all he did was program the drum machine. World renown violinist Miri Ben-Ari provides the melancholy string instrumental touch to the song. There are three backing vocalists on the track, and that Gospel/Soul influenced sound is a big part of why the song is such a big hit. The other is Alicia's voice. Not to take away from her writing, piano playing, or producing of the track, but that voice is 90% of the power in this song. She's not lying, she's living it. And because of that, and because you're hearing her live it then you are living it too.

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