Girl on Fire - Alicia Keys

Generally favorable reviews - based on 25 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 25
  2. Negative: 0 out of 25
  1. Nov 21, 2012
    After a pair of bombastic anthems--including the oddly written "Girl on Fire," which has her "living in a world, and it's on fire," then "on top of the world" with "both feet on the ground" and "our head in the clouds"--the album loses its grip.
  2. Nov 30, 2012
    Girl on Fire is a smart album, maintaining the high standards set on The Element of Freedom.
  3. Nov 26, 2012
    Her fifth and arguably most consistent album to date.
  4. Nov 27, 2012
    Keys has rarely ever sounded so at ease, so downright sensual, as she does as her latest.
  5. Nov 26, 2012
    Despite being hyped as her most "personal" album, Girl on Fire is really just more of the same.
  6. 70
    This balance of radio-friendly R&B and piano ballads bursting with her irrefutable talent is a road frequently traveled for this singer, but it's oh-so-entertaining to watch her set the road ablaze.
  7. 75
    Some of Girl on Fire's best moments come down to just Keys and her piano.
  8. 60
    Alicia Keys is a singer-songwriter in the purest sense, and Girl On Fire is at its best when Keys (and her collaborators) remember that.
  9. Dec 10, 2012
    Girl On Fire pushes her superb writing skills forward without losing what makes Alicia Keys the artist she promised to be 11 years ago.
  10. Nov 27, 2012
    In spite of that fresh blood [of collaborators], Girl on Fire basically delivers the same payload as Keys' other albums; it's a collection of handsomely crafted, gorgeously sung ballads interrupted by several overworked anthems about the value of perseverance.
  11. Dec 17, 2012
    A girl on fire? Now and then--and inbetween times, she smoulders as well as ever. [Jan 2013, p.95]
  12. Dec 6, 2012
    Despite Keys's proficiency (she co-wrote Where's The Fun In Forever, one of the best songs on Miguel's new album), she's always seemed a little boring. On that front, she delivers.
  13. Dec 4, 2012
    Like Stevie Wonder--who could throw together cloying ballads, funky grooves and reggae homages--Keys is willing to probe her oeuvre and now her own self for songs that resonate beneath the surface.
  14. Dec 4, 2012
    "New Day" has a transformative effect within the album, whose middle is as strong as any sequence of songs Keys has recorded.
  15. Dec 11, 2012
    No flame then, but her light shows no sign of going out. [Jan 2013, p.112]
  16. Nov 27, 2012
    The result is both her catchiest and subtlest album yet--and one of the best R&B records of 2012.
  17. Nov 26, 2012
    Girl on Fire is less a portrait of Keys's womanhood at a crossroads as it is another extension of a career spent predominantly navigating straight down the middle of the road.
  18. Dec 11, 2012
    Less of an anthemic, balls-to-the-wall affair than Elements of Freedom (still her strongest album overall), this one does have its own liberating, empowering charms.
  19. Nov 26, 2012
    As a reinvention, the album doesn't go far enough, and there are some underwhelming tunes, but the best song here--Girl on Fire--wonderfully blends Keys old and new.
  20. 60
    ["When It's All Over"] itself is one of the worst here, mercifully outnumbered by the merely adequate and the few standout songs.
  21. Her fifth studio album is dominated by navel-gazing auto-therapy sessions.
  22. Nov 26, 2012
    It's a measure of how powerful parenthood really is that it generates so many clichés. The new songs that push that subtext out front quickly grow trite, in words and music.... It's the tracks in which Ms. Keys seems to pay attention to a quieter story rather than building new pedestals for herself--that echo and smudge and smear sounds, that lead toward paradox--that suggest something new for her.
  23. Nov 26, 2012
    Ultimately, though, it still cleaves too close to the polite piano soul with which Keys has filled 10 years.
  24. Nov 26, 2012
    She wants to deliver good, solid, heartfelt slabs of it. And on those terms, her fifth studio album is her best record in years.
  25. Dec 11, 2012
    Her technical brilliance remains stunning; it's now matched by her maturity and modernity. [Jan 2013, p.74]
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 78 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 16
  2. Negative: 1 out of 16
  1. Nov 27, 2012
    Something's gone awry when the singles are the weakest tracks on the album. As weak as the singles are lyrically ("looks like a girl, but she's a flame" from the title track), they fit well in the musical landscape that Keys has painted. Easily the most consistent and cohesive set of songs we've heard from Keys, "Girl on Fire" moves effortlessly from piano ballads ("Brand New Me") to Jamie XX ("When It's All Over"), to synth-heavy groove "Listen to Your Heart". Some have lamented Keys' refusal to truly open up in the past, and they will likely find plenty wrong with another album where she keeps the listeners at arms length, mostly. But look harder at the thematic elements of a few tracks and you'll see that she's subtly addressing the things that have been said about her. For example, "101" is a thinly veiled dig at the naysayers regarding her relationship with the notoriously unfaithful Swizz Beatz. Not to mention that it sounds fantastic. "Not Even The King", while certainly not currently personal for Keys, finds her at her most intimate on a recording, stopping to sit down, breathe, and push the pedal down before beginning the future nominee for Song of The Year at the Grammy Awards. I'm a longtime Alicia Keys fan, disappointed with the last album of mostly filler music, and am really thrilled to see Keys back at the top of her game and turning out an album even better than "As I Am". Great music! Full Review »
  2. Nov 27, 2012
    Such a lovely album and breathe of fresh air , the singles are by far the weakest tracks on the album ,stand out tracks are "One Thing" , "When Its all Over" , "Fire We Make" and "Brand New Me" Full Review »
  3. Dec 13, 2012
    Alicia once again, prove why is one of the most and greatest artists of new generation... This album is amazing. Every track... every lyric... it's crazy!! We felling the emotion of his voice. She's so wonderful... I love her.

    My favorite song? ALL, for sure.
    Full Review »