Alicia Keys and her new album Here

Some of the new songs on Alicia Keys’ album Here are a wonderful inspiration for our studies in Religious Studies.

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First of all the song Halleluja (meaning God be praised when uttered in worship or as an expression of rejoicing) has a religious theme, where it seems as if Alicia’s looking for strength and has to find it in religion. The song is featured in the trailer of Let Me In, a film written and directed by Jonathan Olinger that portrays the refugee crisis as if it were on American soil. Here are the three first verses to give you a feel of the song:

There’s a hole in my heart I’ve been hiding
I’ve been strong for so long that I’m blind
Is there a place I can go where the lonely river flows?
Where fear ends and faith begins

Hallelujah, hallelujah, let me in
I’ve been praying but I’m paying for my sins
Won’t you give me a sign before I lose my mind?
Woah, hallelujah, let me in

Every step makes me think that I’m closer
But somehow I just never arrived
When our hope disappears, please protect me from my tears
I need you right by my side…

A second song to listen to is Blended Family (a family formed when a couple moves in together, bringing children from previous relationships into one home). The song describes the emotional turmoil there can often be in a Blended Family. For a new blended family to be formed, a breakdown of an original family must happen, so it’s normal for children to experience intense and sometimes overwhelming feelings: anger, disappointment, sadness, grief, guilt, worry and insecurity. When parents remarry or move in with a new partner who has children from a pre-existing marriage, a child faces further threats to his sense of stability. The song perfectly illustrates this. Once again here are the first few verses:

Hey I might not really be your mother
But that don’t mean that I don’t really love ya
And even though I married your father
That’s not the only reason I’m here for ya

I think you’re beautiful
I think you’re perfect
I know how hard it gets
But I swear it’s worth it, worth it

Cause what you do, what you do, what you do, what you do for love
There ain’t nothing, there ain’t nothing, there ain’t nothing I won’t do for us
It may not be easy, this blended family, but baby
Cause what you do, what you do, what you do, what you do for love, love

I know it started with a little drama
I hate you had to read it in the paper
But everything’s over with me being your mama
Baby everybody here you know adores ya…

Finally, though I am sure other songs on Alicia’s album would be worth listening to, there is the song Holy War (war which has religion as a driving force). On the US TV show the Voice Alicia told a packed audience she’d originally planned to perform the album’s newest single, “Blended Family,” and began with a single verse of the track. Suddenly, though, she stopped, and admitted she’d had a change of heart in light of recent political movements — what many inferred was Donald Trump‘s ascendance to presidency. “That’s my new song ‘Blended Family’ that I was supposed to sing tonight,” she said. “But due to the current climate there’s only one song I can sing and that’s ‘Holy War.’” Then, with the help of fellow Voice judge Adam Levine on guitar, Keys delivered a powerful rendition of the politically charged anthem from her signature piano perch.

holy-war

Maybe we should love somebody / Maybe we could care a little more / Maybe we should love somebody / Instead of polishing the bombs of holy war,” she belted as Miley Cyrus sang along from her swiveling chair. Here are the first few verses:


If war is holy and sex is obscene
We’ve got it twisted in this lucid dream
Baptized in boundaries, schooled in sin
Divided by difference, sexuality and skin

Oh so we can hate each other and fear each other
We can build these walls between each other
Baby, blow by blow and brick by brick
Keep yourself locked in, yourself locked in
Yeah we can hate each other and fear each other
We can build these walls between each other
Baby, blow by blow and brick by brick
Keep yourself locked in, yourself locked

Oh maybe we should love somebody
Oh maybe we could care a little more
So maybe we should love somebody
Instead of polishing the bombs of holy war…

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