Album of the week
Here's one young singer who hasn't learned to act her age. At 20, Keys has already built a mature voice with a soulful timbre that suggests more time hanging with Roberta Flack than with sugary contemporaries like Christina and Britney. The newest protégée of music mogul Clive Davis, Keys is already being touted as his next Whitney Houston. She's not there yet—she doesn't match the innocent fun of "How Will I Know"—but her breathy ballads suggest the same superstar potential on this polished first album.
The Manhattan-born Keys also writes, produces and, showing off her classical training, tickles the ivories in a hip-hop-funk track that hints of Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata." "Fallin'," her vintage R&B single, showcases her street edge, but she turns sultry on "A Woman's Worth," whose lyrics ("You will lose if you refuse to put her first/ She will and she can find a man who knows her worth") suggest she knows the score: It's no-nonsense women by a knockout. And on a powerful, gospel-charged cover of Prince's "How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore," Keys proves she can rattle the windows.
Bottom Line: A Minor sensation