It’s been three years since Alicia Keys last album The Element of Freedom, but this fall she’ll returning with a fury, a new album, a VMA performance, a VH1 Storytellers and all! Bit by bit, she’s been dropping information and giving hints as to what we might expect from this return. Like, for example: although the title might suggest otherwise, her new album has nothing to do with a certain Miss Everdeen, and maybe because after giving birth to her son Egypt she feels like a “full-on f****ing grown up.” Here is what else we’ve got so far:
Girl On Fire: “It is called Girl On Fire!!! And that’s exactly how I feel!!!” she announced on her blog last week, thrice the exclamation points and all. “I’m like a match to the flame!”
The Album Cover: The cover shows Keys in a black wrap-dress and collar, striking a fierce pose with hands on her hips, elbows pointed sharply out, shoulder pads reaching sharply up, and her hair swept sharply to one side. There’s also a red “AK” logo, which really pops against the otherwise all black and white image. It’s grown, confident, and very 90s.
It’s a “New Day”! The first single off of Girl On Fire is a big banger of a cut, with all the keys and soaring vocals we’ve come to expect from her, but also big drum rolls that really get you up and charged for the so spoken of new day.
Is Girl On Fire about The Hunger Games? “You know, the funny thing is that it’s actually not,” she tells EW, dashing hopes that she might be channeling her inner Katniss Everdeen on this fifth effort. “I didn’t realize that, I guess, that’s what they call the one girl. But, no, it has nothing to do with The Hunger Games. That powerful feeling is what it’s all about.”
What, then, will Girl On Fire be about? “New beginnings, new perspectives and fresh starts,” she says. Keys was young when she first broke, and after years of working in the industry she’s finally realized that “you don’t just have to take the s**** they dish out to you,” she says. “There’s something very empowering about that.”
She has “No Reservations” this time around: “Everything makes this record different. There’s nothing that’s the same. There’s not one thing that’s the same,” she says. “Everything that was kind of like the standard for me has been removed and I have had to start from zero. I have arrived at a place in myself that I’m comfortable being exactly who I am in this moment and sharing it with no reservations.”
This will be her first, “full-on f****ing grown up” album: Having Egypt gave her an “immediate perspective shit,” she says, and she wrote the majority of Girl On Fire‘s songs after giving birth.
A Live Debut: She’ll show off what she’s got at the MTV VMAs on September 6th, where she’ll join her fellow fall Storytellers P!nk and Taylor Swift. She debuted “No One” onstage, and she said the the VMAs were just the “perfect setting” to do so. This one she promises “is so crazy,” and so we’re sure it will be memorable.
And when can we hear the rest? Girl On Fire drops November 27. Let the countdown begin!