It might not be quite as famous as its parent song, the Jay-Z and Alicia Keys collaboration ‘Empire State Of Mind’, but this understated and cinematic answer record is rapidly catching up in terms of recognition and may one day overtake the original.
Following the huge success of ‘Empire State of Mind’ in late 2009, Keys announced that she was working on an answer record to the track, and within a month of the original appearing, Key’s version was out.
A heartfelt ode to the city, this time from Keys’ personal perspective, the drive to succeed and the mention of Broadway echoes Keys background and her education at New York’s Professional Performing Arts School as well as echoing the sentiments of one of the many films filmed in the city, Alan Parker’s Fame but Keys song is subtler in tone than its parent, and even Stuart Jeffries would surely agree that this soul meets Broadway musical atmospheric soundscape is less bombastic than ‘Empire State Of Mind’. That said, Keys’ version has also inspired at least one parody: the understated and considerably more downbeat ‘Burnage State Of Mind’.
Image is of Alicia Keys performing in Central Park in New York on 25/6/10. Image is by asterix611 and is included thanks to a flickr creative commons licence
Video commentary: Video is of Alicia Keys performing the song as part of an AOL music session. She is positioned at the centre of the stage, playing piano. Around her are three backing singers, and a full band.