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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Soul > Pop > Diary Of Alicia Keys - The Documentary

The Diary Of Alicia Keys (DVD-Video Documentary)


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: D     Documentary: B-



As a companion to her successful sophomore outing, The Diary Of Alicia Keys, Eagle Vision has issued an 83-minutes-long documentary companion that shows the R&B singer/songwriter on tour, with family and friends, and speaking her mind.  As far as I have been concerned, I have no problem with her music, and her singing voice is good.  However, many have commented that she is doing what already was done by the likes of Teena Marie and Chaka Khan a few decades ago.  So why the success?


One reason is that she is likable and ambitious, and that includes her vocals, which cut out (if not totally eliminate) the overdone rolling the Mariah Carey era brought us.  Also, her commercial success alone shows that real R&B singing, as opposed to post-modern raping, is sorely missed and deserving of a comeback.  In this way, Keys is delivering enough of the goods, even if she is not exactly groundbreaking.


Before seeing this program, I thought she was just fine in what she did.  Afterwards, I came away with even more respect for her, wondering if she might be working her way up to something interesting no one is expecting.  She certainly has her act together when many women in her field have suffered press overexposure (Jennifer Lopez), unnecessary scandal (Janet Jackson) or simply vie between solo and group projects (Beyonce) often enough to break the consistency of a solo path.


Many would say this is just a propaganda film and maybe even this critic was suckered, but it actually turned out to be fun, even with a few “reality TV” like moments of anger and conflicts among her touring crew.  Besides seeing the shooting of the Girlfriend video, we see her go to Spain, Monte Carlo, Africa, The Middle East and even Arizona.  This makes it, for the most part, an old fashioned look at a music act on the rise, and that’s not bad at all.


The full frame 1.33 X 1 NTSC video might be a digitally affiliated source, but still has the usual detail limits.  It is at least clean for the most part.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo has no Pro Logic surrounds, oddly, but is a recent recording so you will be able to hear just about everything.  There are no extras, but a timeline on her career to September 2004 is included in a booklet inside the DVD case.  All in all, this is worth a look.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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