Metascore
78

Generally favorable reviews - based on 10 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 10
  2. Negative: 0 out of 10
  1. 100
    Fusing R&B, pop, jazz, blues, throwback soul--hell, you name it--Keys delivers grandstand ballads (like the single "Fallin' "), midtempo music, diary-worthy lyrics and feminist funk as if they were all as uncomplicated as scales.
  2. A record of glorious parts that are just too weighty, too emotionally complex and rich to hang together well as a whole.
  3. A distinct and oft-times brilliant debut from an artist who clearly has a fine sense of her creative talents and has struggled to make sure they are represented in the best way
  4. A gorgeous and ambitious melding of classic soul structures and values to hyper-modern production technique.
  5. Like Erykah Badu and other retro-soul artists that have followed her, Alicia Keys is trying to redefine modern R&B by injecting it with jazz and blues. In Songs in A Minor, Keys accomplishes her goal with poise and skill.
  6. Her aching sincerity’s another major plus; that she can get away with Caged Bird’s Stevie Wonder-isms and Fallin’s near plagiarism of James Brown’s It’s A Man’s World speaks volumes.
  7. Though the second half slackens with sad sack teen themes, ''Songs'' is a debut full of promise.
  8. The singing is more mature than the self-consciously retro arrangements and sometimes thin sonics.
  9. The mournful, blues-and-gospel-based "Fallin'"--a great song that was certainly no obvious choice as the first single--is the most notable declaration of independence, but Songs In A Minor is full of them.
  10. It sounds like she couldn't care less if anyone's listening.
User Score
8.7

Universal acclaim- based on 58 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 49 out of 58
  2. Negative: 1 out of 58
  1. Jul 26, 2019
    6
    A solid entry in the 2000s R&B/neo soul catalogue. If you are a fan of the genre and haven't listened to this already, you should definitelyA solid entry in the 2000s R&B/neo soul catalogue. If you are a fan of the genre and haven't listened to this already, you should definitely check it out. Alicia Keys' voice is stunning throughout, filling each song with emotion.

    However, though I do like this album, it does have a few flaws that hold it back from truly being great. The runtime comes in at about an hour, which just feels a bit too long. Couple this with the fact that some songs feel weaker than others and you get a record that feels just a bit bloated. And it doesn't help that most of the songs feel pretty safe and standard for the genre. Usually this isn't a problem for me. Not every song has to be groundbreaking to be interesting. But when you have 15 songs on an album, then the more predictable tracks will sort of blend together and fade into the background.

    Despite my criticisms, I do think that this is a decent record. It's just that when you shake off some of the nostalgia, you recognize the presence of a few imperfections.
    Full Review »
  2. Apr 29, 2013
    5
    When its good, it can be occasionally captivating however the record relies heavily on its production, without which a lot of the materialWhen its good, it can be occasionally captivating however the record relies heavily on its production, without which a lot of the material just saunters along without ever saying much. For me, it's a record that is overrated and forced too much of the time. That said, there are a number of tracks worth getting hold of such as "Falling" and "Girlfriend". As I've already mentioned though, without the backing of major production this wouldn't be half the record. Full Review »
  3. JenniferP
    Dec 31, 2007
    9
    An amazing debut album that manages to transform a soul, jazz, and R&B coalescence into a masterpiece of a debut album. An album that, in my An amazing debut album that manages to transform a soul, jazz, and R&B coalescence into a masterpiece of a debut album. An album that, in my opinion, may have established a pathway for similar jazzy-pop artists such as Norah Jones, is not only creative but created one of the biggest R&B stars in decades. From the first songs, which convey a more hip hop/jazz flavor, to the album's latter songs which mix R&B with deep soul, Songs is clearly the breakout album of 2001. Full Review »