Alicia Keys’ “Girl On Fire.”

In Loving Memory of Charles Parker.

Released: November 27, 2012

Genre: R&B

Label: RCA

Producer: Alicia Keys • Babyface • Jeff Bhasker • Antonio Dixon • Dr. Dre • Rodney Jerkins • Malay • Pop & Oak • Salaam Remi • Jamie Smith • Swizz Beatz


Alicia Keys is one of the most phenomenal musicians I’ve ever listened to in my life. She has given us countless classics from the 2000s, that I truly believe she was the soundtrack to my childhood. Selling over 90 million records worldwide, Alicia Keys is one of the best selling musicians of all time. I mean, look at the material!

Alicia’s fifth studio album Girl On Fire was released on November 22, 2012 on RCA Records, which was her first album on the label after J Records was dissolved into the label in 2011. Girl On Fire was an album of various musical genres such as rock, R&B, dance, electro soul, reggae, hip hop and it blended together so beautifully. The album contained themes of relationships, God, marriage, renewal and independence, which gave us a glimpse in Alicia’s world.

The album peaked at number one on the Billboard 200 chart and Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts with first week sales of 159,000 copies. Girl on Fire became Alicia’s fifth consecutive number one album, and was certified platinum by the RIAA, selling over 1.3 million copies. The album also won the 2014 Grammy Award for Best R&B Album. A QUEEN!

Ladies & Gentlemen, I present to you: Alicia Keys’ Girl on Fire.

De Novo Adagio (Intro)

The album opens with the instrumental De Novo Adagio.

Brand New Me

Written by Alicia Keys • Emeli Sandé

The album officially opens with the amazing Brand New Me, which was released as the second single. Alicia has cited this song as her autobiography, with the lyrics tying into personal growth and how she became the best version of herself. The themes of growth and evolution resonates with me a whole lot because people never want to see a newer you.

If you were a friend, you wanna get to know me again.

If you were worth a while, you’d be happy to see me smile.

I’m not expecting sorry, I’m too busy finding myself. I’ve got this, I’ve found me, I’ve found me.

Alicia Keys, Brand New Me, 2012.

Like people from your past and your present often have a hard time recognizing that you can grow from the person you once were. The song is a big ahaha moment to the doubters because they truly don’t want to see you evolve. The song was a top 40 hit on the R&B charts, peaking at thirty-seven.

When It’s All Over

Written by Alicia Keys • John Stephens • Stacy Barthe

Next up on the album was When It’s All Over, which seemingly is a song that is an ode to a loved one such as your significant other and/or children. The song features Alicia’s son Egypt, who was an infant at the time.

Listen to Your Heart

Written by Alicia Keys • John Stephens

Listen to Your Heart is my song!!! I love the 70s soul vibes that it’s giving, and with Darkchild on the production! You know it was fire. I wish she would’ve made this song a single, because everything about it was magical.

New Day

Written by Alicia Keys ∙ Kasseem Dean ∙ Trevor Lawrence, Jr ∙ Andrew Brissett ∙ Sevyn Streeter ∙ Andre Young

Next up on the album is the upbeat New Day, which is something I don’t think we’ve ever heard from Alicia. With elements of pop, hip hop, house and reggae, New Day is a song about touching the sky and not letting any opportunities pass you by. I truly love the message behind this song. It was released as the second international single from the album.

Girl On Fire [Inferno Version] featuring Nicki Minaj

Written by Alicia Keys ∙ Jeff Bhasker ∙ Salaam Remi ∙ Onika Maraj ∙Billy Squire

The title track of the album features rapper Nicki Minaj, & her verses on the song are so fire. No pun intended!

When Alicia explained what the song and album meant to her, it made perfect sense! She stated that in the past she felt locked in a cage where she was misunderstood and no one knew who she really was. & once she became a “girl on fire.” She was free! Empowered.

The song is very inspirational and I love everything about it. The song was a hit on the charts, peaking at number two on the R&B charts and eleven on the pop charts respectively. Girl on Fire contains an interpretation of The Big Beat by Billy Squier.

Fire We Make (duet with Maxwell)

Written by Alicia Keys ∙ Andrew Wansel ∙ Warren Felder ∙ Gary Clark, Jr.

When I saw the album track list for the album, I KNEW Fire We Make was going to be a BANGER!!! The duet was with Maxwell, and boy oh boy it was a vibe for sure!!! The influences of neo soul & quiet storm ran rampant throughout the track, along with the lyricism of a duo expressing their love for each other and comparing it to fire as the love gets “hotter and hotter.”

Tears Always Win

Written by Alicia Keys ∙Jeff Bhasker ∙Bruno Mars ∙Phillip Lawrence

Tears Always Win was released as the fifth and final single from the album, and although it was not a huge hit, it was in this HOUSE! From a lyrical perspective, the song speaks to things not working out, but you have to give it a chance..

Not Even The King

Written by Alicia Keys ∙ Emeli Sandé

Some people so poor, all that they’ve got is money..

Alicia Keys, Not Even the King, 2012

Not Even the King is a piano ballad that focuses on the power of love, and not worth. The singer says even the king cannot afford the range to give her the love she has with her soulmate. That is extremely deep, and is one of the meaningful songs on the album. Alicia re-released the album on her 2022 Santa Baby album as well!

That’s When I Knew

Written by Alicia Keys ∙ Kenneth Edmonds ∙ Antonio Dixon

That’s When I Knew is the ultimate love song on the album, and Alicia makes sure that you know that she loves her man okay! A SONG!


Written by Alicia Keys ∙ Andrew Wansel ∙ Warren Felder ∙ Sevyn Streeter ∙ Stacy Barthe

Limitedless is a VIBEEEEEEEE okay! It’s one of my favorites on the album, which is about the lack of limitations to the love Alicia has for her husband.

One Thing

Written by Alicia Keys ∙ Frank Ocean ∙ James Ho

One Thing is one of favorite songs to come out of Alicia’s catalog period. Penned with Frank Ocean, the song speaks about if you would, you’d choose that one thing over the entire world. A gem.


Written by Alicia Keys ∙ Emeli Sandê

The album closes out with the phenomenal 101. It is absolutely the most vulnerable song I’ve ever heard from Alicia. A wonderful song.

Selling over 1.3 million copies worldwide, Girl On Fire sits in the AK discographies as one of her most amazing treasures, but we can’t expect anything less from such an incredible artist. I say revisit this album if you can. I’m positive you’ll love it like I do. -MW

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