This week the beautiful Alicia Keys released her new album The Element Of Freedom which, in my quite honest and frankly infallible opinion, was excellent. It was a really funky and interesting direction for her to move in while still keeping all of her previous charm, musical ability and lyrical mastery. If you were a fan of her previous albums, especially ‘As I Am’ then I’d definitely recommend you go and buy ‘The Element Of Freedom’.
The song that I can’t really stop listening to on the album is ‘Empire State Of Mind (Part II)‘. It’s called Part II as Part I featured Jay-Z and doesn’t appear on this album – a fact I am grateful for as I don’t particularly care for Jay-Z.
This is just another one of Alicia Keys’ songs specifically about New York City (her other one being ‘Streets of New York’) and I just can’t get enough of her singing about the city. In fact just about any song about New York puts a nostalgic smile on my face. Be it Billy Joel’s ‘New York State Of Mind’ (a particular favourite of mine not least because I can play in on the piano), Sting’s ‘Englishman In New York’, Elton John’s ‘Wouldn’t Have You Any Other Way (NYC)’, Regina Spektor’s ‘Back Of A Truck’ or even Gershwin’s ‘Rhapsody in Blue’. The list of songs about New York City is phenomenally long (read it here).
There really is no wonder why so many people write about the city of New York. I loved my time there and although I enjoyed San Francisco more, I think I want to go back to New York sooner. I just can’t get enough of those towering buildings, the death trap that is the traffic, the epileptic’s nightmare of Times Square, the Subway, the overpriced stalls on every corner, the vastness of Central Park or just the spectacle that is the amazing 5th Avenue.
I really find that Alicia Keys sums it up when she talks of it as a jungle in both ‘Empire State Of Mind’ and ‘Streets Of New York’. It’s this bit which gives me the shivers though:
Baby, I’m from New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made of, there’s nothing you can’t do now you’re in New York. These streets will make you feel brand new, big lights will inspire you, hear it for New York, New York, New York.
There is so much to inspire a person there that it is no wonder that such great songs have been written about the place.
Don’t you go anywhere NYC, I’ll be right back.