A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
What's the story?
Alicia Keys' third album, ALICIA KEYS UNPLUGGED, recorded live at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, isn't really unplugged (unless you want to call a 16-piece backup band \"unplugged\"), but it's lovely, personal, and intimate. The producers at MTV couldn't have chosen a better artist to revive their \"unplugged\" series than Keys. Her talents, both vocally and on keyboard, are allowed to shine with less glossy production. One highlight is a duet with Maroon 5's Adam Levine on the Rolling Stones' \"Wild Horses\"; another is \"You Don't Know My Name.\" Both songs offer a change in atmosphere from the versions we've all got stuck in our head, and both work beautifully.
Is it any good?
If arrangements seem loose and a little unstructured, Keys' excellent band keeps the groove strong and steady, the background vocals are exquisitely arranged, and the songs well-chosen. Her Brooklyn-accented speaking voice is charming and real as she introduces the songs and makes a genuine effort to connect with her audience. At its best, the unplugged Alicia Keys offers a personal glimpse inside the heart of a beloved and extremely talented young artist, and fans will adore this glimpse behind the curtain. The rest of us can sit back and enjoy the music.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether they like "unplugged" versions of songs. They can compare the musical arrangements here with the same songs on the artist's studio CDs. How are the moods and meanings different here? Does plugging in give a song more power? Why or why not? What artists seem to translate well in an acoustic performance?