Alicia Keys’ “A Songs in a Minor”

Released: June 5, 2001

Genre: Neo Soul ・R&B

Label: J Records

Producer: Arden Altino ・Miri Ben-Ari ・Kerry “Krucial” Brothers ・Jimmy Cozier ・ Jermaine Dupri ・Kandi Burruss ・Alicia Keys ・Brian McKnight


Alicia Keys is definitely one of the greatest superstars of all time. A classically-trained pianist, Alicia began composing songs at a young age, and even was signed to Columbia Records at the age of 15, appearing on soundtracks to the major motion films Men In Black, Dr Dolittle 2 & Shaft.

After signing with Clive Davis’ J Records, Alicia released her debut album Songs in A Minor on June 5, 2001. Originally titled Soul Stories in a Minor, the title was changed over the concerns that it’ll limit the potential exposure it could have and only been sent to black radio stations. Songs in A Minor is a Neo soul album with influences of classical music, blues, jazz, soul and hip hop. From a lyrical standpoint, the album explores and tackles the complexities and stages of personal relationships.

The album debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 & Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Album charts respectively, selling 236,000 copies first week. The album went on to become the best selling albums of 2001, selling over 12 million copies worldwide. Songs in A Minor has also been certified 7x platinum by the RIAA.

Ladies & gentlemen, I present to you: Alicia Keys’ Songs In A Minor

Piano & I

Written by Alicia Keys

The album opens with the amazing Piano & I, which starts off with Alicia playing Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 14 (Moonlight Sonata) in C-Sharp minor. It starts off playing the classical piece, and goes into a hip-hop instrumental with an introduction from Alicia herself. It gives you a dual explaining to her album’s title: the usage of a “minor” scale, and the songs that she played when she started to take music seriously as a minor. I love it, because it gave an introduction to the genius that is Alicia.


Written by Alicia Keys, Joshua Thompson, Jermaine Dupri, Russell Jones & Robert Diggs

Girlfriend follows up being the gem that it is. Lyrically, the song is about Keys thinking that her boyfriend is having a relationship with his very close friend who is a woman. She really is jealous of their friendship and can’t stop thinking that he’s going to leave her. The song is built around an interpolation of ODB’s Brooklyn Zoo.

How Come You Don’t Call Me

Written by Prince Nelson

A cover of a Prince classic B-side, How Come You Don’t Call Me is a gem. Prince has told the songstress that he loves the song as well, and you know he doesn’t allow any ol body to cover his records! the song was a hit on the UK R&B charts! & she has even performed the song with Prince as well.


Written by Alicia Keys

I never loved someone the way that I’m lovin’ you

Alicia Keys, 2001

Fallin’ is a SONG OKAY? The lead single from that album that is considered to be one of Alicia’s signature records, Fallin’ speaks about the ins and outs of a relationship. It is such a brilliant record, that you barely even notice the subtle yet remarkable sample of James Brown’s It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World is played throughout the song.

Fallin’ was one of the most successful records released in 2001, selling over 2 million copies, and gave Alicia her first number one record on the Billboard Hot 100 and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs Charts. The song has been sampled and interpolated by The Black Eyed Peas and Da Brat. The song also won three Grammy Awards in 2002 (Song of the Decade, Best R&B Song & Best Female R&B Vocal Performance,) and also was nominated for Record of the Year.


Written by Alicia Keys & Kerry Brothers Jr.

One of the best songs on the album, Troubles speaks on the worries about a boyfriend who is a “hustler.” The song samples Barry White’s I’m Gonna Love You Just a Little More, Baby.

Rock wit U

Written by Alicia Keys, Taniesha Smith & Kerry Brothers Jr.

Originally featured on the soundtrack to the 2000 film Shaft, Rock Wit U is about Keys showing her devotion to a man she is in love with and discusses how she will leave him no matter the circumstance. Her loyalty runs deep for her man!

A Woman’s Worth

Written by Alicia Keys & Erika Rose

A Woman’s Worth is definitely one of Alicia’s favorite songs and is definitely her best. From a lyrical perspective, Keys speaks on being worth everything she deserves from a man and he cannot deny that whatsoever.

The song was released as a second single from the album, and became another hit for Alicia..peaking number one on the Billboard Adult R&B Songs, number seven on the Hot 100 and number three on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop songs charts respectively. The single was also certified Gold by the RIAA.

Jane Doe

Written by Alicia Keys & Kandi Burruss

A fun fact about Jane Doe is that it is the only song on the album that is written in A Minor. From a lyrical perspective, the song speaks about Keys stating that she would be a fool if she allowed someone else to try and take her man..and even confronts the Jane Doe! An album cut!


Written by Alicia Keys

Goodbye has Keys struggling with the idea of letting go of someone who hurts her, but she can’t let him go.

The Life

Written by Alicia Keys & Kerry Brothers Jr.

The very soulful The Life touches on the complexities of life and the struggle, and Alicia’s whole philosophy of it. The song contains interpolations of Mary J Blige’s My Life, Isaac Hayes’ A Few More Kisses to Go & Curtis Mayfield’s Give Me Your Love.

Mr. Man featuring Jimmy Cozier

Written by Alicia Keys & Jimmy Cozier

Mr. Man is a Latin American music influenced duet between Keys & Jimmy Cozier of a potential love affair between two people who are trying to fight their desires, but the lady has a man.

Never Felt This Way (interlude)

Written by Brian McKnight & Brandon Barnes

This interlude is a cover of Brian McKnight’s Never Felt This Way.


Written by Alicia Keys

Butterflyz has Alicia discussing how much her lover makes her feel on the inside.

Why Do I Feel So Sad

Written by Alicia Keys & Warryn Campbell

Why Do I Feel So Sad is a song where you question why you feel bad about a relationship that clearly has to end.

Caged Bird

Written by Alicia Keys

Caged Bird is one of the highlights of the album & technically the “final” track on the album. The song touches on feeling trapped by the complex society and world we live in. Keys speaks of feeling caged and wanting to break free to the stereotypes and feeling misunderstood.

Lovin U

Written by Alicia Keys

The album contains the hidden Lovin U, which speaks on a blossoming love affair and how easy and natural it is loving her partner.

Alicia Keys’ released Songs in a Minor 20 years ago, and the album is still one of the best R&B records of all time. Since the release of the album, the songstess has gone on to sell over 50 million albums and 40 million singles worldwide, making her one of the best-selling musicians of all time. AK is the truth, and y’all better believe it. -MJ

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