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The Element of Freedom is the fourth studio album by American recording artist Alicia Keys, scheduled to be released on December 15, 2009, on MBK Entertainment and J Records in the United States.


After recording her third studio album, As I Am, Keys began to "find the way to totally be myself and what that meant; figuring out what choices I wanted to make and not make in order to truly honor myself". She described The Element of Freedom as diverse, but noted that there is a "balance". She explained that "one side is strong and one side is vulnerable", which she pointed to as the theme of the album. The album has a "strong, edgy feel", but is also "intimate and vulnerable and delicate". While on BET's 106 & Park, she described the album: "The way that the songs progress [on the album] are gonna take you on a natural high. I just want you to feel a sense of freedom, I want you to feel out-of-the-box, feel inspired, You're definitely going to be taken on a trip, I know you're going to be shocked, you're going to hear things that you probably didn't think that I would sound like. It's a journey."

In an interview with Billboard magazine, Keys stated that she "eliminated all of the boundaries and all the limitations, so that you can feel your freedom and express your freedom in every way you possibly can". The Element of Freedom was scheduled to be released on December 1, 2009, to correspond with World AIDS Day, but was pushed back to December 15 for additional recording. According senior vice president of urban marketing for J Records, Keys "had a couple of more things in the oven and she wants this to be right [...] So we gave her the additional time she needed." Keys pointed out that she felt the album was being rushed for no reason.


Recording took place in The Oven Studios in Long Islandmarker, New Yorkmarker. Keys expressed that she "didn't know what to do" when she began working on the album, but knew to do it. After exhausting herself, she stated that she "finally found the key, and that is to allow yourself to be free". She revealed that the album will include production by Kerry "Krucial" Brothers, Jeff Bhasker and others.

According to MTV News, Keys and rapper Jay-Z recorded "Empire State of Mind Part 2", a second version of "Empire State of Mind", from Jay-Z's album The Blueprint 3. In mid-November 2009, Brothers revealed on Twitter that Canadian recording artist Drake will be featured on the album.

Marketing and promotion

In September 2009, the day after the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, Keys posted the audio to the album's lead single, "Doesn't Mean Anything", on her YouTube channel. The song was released on iTunes on September 22. In October, she performed the song live on the Regis and Kelly show. "Doesn't Mean Anything" has peaked at number 60 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 14 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.

On October 21, 2009, Keys held "The Element of Freedom Lecture & Performance Series" at New York Universitymarker, free for students at the Tisch School of the Arts. Among the songs she performed included the new "Try Sleeping with a Broken Heart". The song, produced by Keys and Jeff Bhasker, was released as the second single from the album. The music video premiered on November 16, 2009. Keys performed a medley of "Doesn't Mean Anything" and previous hits "No One" and "Empire State of Mind" on the sixth season of The X Factor on November 29. On December 16, 2009, Black Entertainment Television's 106 & Park will host a two-hour special titled 106 & Keys, which will consist of a countdown of Keys' videos and a live performance. Was recording the concert was also streamed live on Alicia's YouTube channel on December 1, 2009, and archived on the website for later viewing, It was the second time a concert has streamed live on YouTube - the first band to have ua concert has streamed live on YouTube is U2 with U2 360° Tour, this show has several songs from all albums Alicia. She is also scheduled to begin touring in 2010.

Track listing

As confirmed by Keys' official website and Rap-Up magazine.

  1. "Element of Freedom" (Intro)
  2. "Love Is Blind"
  3. "Doesn't Mean Anything"
  4. "Try Sleeping with a Broken Heart"
  5. "Wait Til You See My Smile"
  6. "That's How Strong My Love Is"
  7. "Un-thinkable (I'm Ready)"
  8. "Love Is My Disease"
  9. "Like the Sea"
  10. "Put It in a Love Song" featuring Beyoncé
  11. "This Bed"
  12. "Distance and Time"
  13. "How It Feels to Fly"
  14. "Empire State of Mind Broken Down"

Deluxe edition bonus tracks
As confirmed by the HMV Group.

  1. "Through it All"
  • "Pray for Forgiveness"

Deluxe edition bonus DVD
As confirmed by the HMV Group.
  1. "Doesn't Mean Anything" (DVD)
  2. "Empire State of Mind" (part 2/DVD)
  3. "Try Sleeping with a Broken Heart" (DVD)
  4. "No One" (DVD)
  5. "Doesn't Mean Anything" (video/DVD)

Release history

Country Date Format Label(s) Catalog
United Kingdom December 14, 2009 Standard edition Sony Music 88697465712
Deluxe edition 88697608982
United States December 15, 2009 Standard edition J Records 886974657125
Deluxe edition 88697608982
Japan December 16, 2009 Standard edition Sony Music Japan SICP2462
January 1, 2010 Deluxe edition SICP2583


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