Metascore
71

Generally favorable reviews - based on 17 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 17
  2. Negative: 0 out of 17
  1. There's "Karma" and "I Don't Know Your Name." You and your iPod know what to do.
  2. With one album, Alicia Keys jumps up from the most overrated R&B artist since Michael Jackson to the best young talent R&B has seen in a very long time.
  3. Those expecting another album where Keys sounds wise beyond her years will bound to be disappointed by The Diary of Alicia Keys, since her writing reveals her age in a way it never did on the debut.
  4. There are a handful of great moments, where risks are taken and ground is broken, but too often it opts for the familiar and the bland.
  5. See, there're a good few cracking singles on here, but there are also occasions when her wistful classicism leads her down blind alleys.
  6. Keys plays it far too safe here: There's nothing that will offend, and the content is patently generic enough that almost anyone, lovelorn or heartbroken, can build a personal soundtrack of romantic woe from its raw materials.
  7. Keys, however, proves to be a better singer than songwriter, as most of the latter half of the album slips into sleepy piano numbers.
  8. The project is clearly laboring to be relevant to the current marketplace and thus suffers from a serious lack of cohesion.
  9. The note that truly dooms Diary is thematic, not musical. The disc collapses under the weight of one song about heartbreak after another.
  10. Q Magazine
    90
    A proper soul album which hooks you with the first pneumatic beat and draws you deeper with every heady atmosphere and vivid emotion. [Jan 2004, p.111]
  11. Vibe
    90
    Brimming with updated old-school joints, original balladry, and classic-sounding R&B, Diary finds Keys more relaxed, confident, and committed to the tunes of the '70s than ever before. [Feb 2004, p.127]
  12. Blender
    80
    An enthusiastic album full of masterful strokes and electrifying intensity. [#23, p.98]
  13. Mojo
    70
    An hour of heartful, artful singing enhanced by dense, yet fuss-free arrangements. [Jan 2004, p.106]
  14. Uncut
    40
    If she's going to make us read her diary entries, she's going to need something more compelling than this litany of cliche and hackneyed need-a-man Bridget Jones-wailing. [Feb 2004, p.72]
  15. Entertainment Weekly
    75
    Give Keys' simmering voice and evident instrumental skills... the results are all the more frustrating. [5 Dec 2003, p.94]
User Score
8.6

Universal acclaim- based on 81 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 69 out of 81
  2. Negative: 4 out of 81
  1. LydiaR
    Nov 30, 2006
    10
    Absolutely brilliant album, its good to hear actual instruments in the background as so many artists don't do this. Everyone can listen Absolutely brilliant album, its good to hear actual instruments in the background as so many artists don't do this. Everyone can listen to this album despite age..my whole fam loves this album:) Full Review »
  2. KlitosT
    Dec 10, 2003
    7
    I would prefer to buy this cd as a live performance with just her voice and a piano. Nobody doubts that Alicia Keys is super talented and I would prefer to buy this cd as a live performance with just her voice and a piano. Nobody doubts that Alicia Keys is super talented and very promising as an artist. This album though was rather disappointing with no songs that really stand out from commercial soul standards. I feel that she has a lot more to offer and she should try to incorporate more of her classical training in her songwriting. Full Review »
  3. Aug 16, 2017
    10
    Es para mí, el mejor álbum de Alicia K. Muestra la verdadera Alicia y la que queríamos conocer desde adentro, es sin duda un obra maestra yEs para mí, el mejor álbum de Alicia K. Muestra la verdadera Alicia y la que queríamos conocer desde adentro, es sin duda un obra maestra y maravillosamente mágica. Full Review »