Alicia Keys & Nicki Minaj’s “Girl On Fire” Performance Triumphs

This review and overview of Alicia Key’s new release, “Girl On Fire,” is the first comprehensive review presently on the web. While there are some short reviews scattered throughout the internet community, I have yet to find any that tackle Alicia’s return, a review of “Girl On Fire”, an analysis of Minaj’s contribution, and that also make mention of MTV’s upcoming VMA show. This overview has attempted to address these topics in a clear, concise and seamless report. But I can not omit from this brief introduction my enthusiasm of the profound impact this song has had upon my spirit. I have therefore included the Inferno version, which features both Keys and Minaj.

Get ready for a life enhancing experience.

Now that I’ve gotten that our of the way, let me just say it’s quite a treat to see  Nicki Minaj, 29, teamed up with Alicia Keys, 31, especially as Keys makes her return and attempt to maintain the incredible acclaim and success she has garnered since her breakthrough more than a decade ago. Not that any of us were afraid she wouldn’t return; but the Grammy winning vocalist is shaping up to be a musical legend. It’s just a question of how incredible she plans to be in this era.

Keys and Minaj‘s collaboration on ‘Girl on Fire (Inferno Version)’ hit the Web over the Labor day weekend, and it doesn’t disappoint, in fact it triumphs in cross cultural, cross genre exchange. The track opens with a thumping mid tempo beat as Minaj spits a verse about not succumbing to the dangers of Marilyn Monroe-inspired excess and self-destruction.

The track opens with a thumping mid tempo beat as Minaj spits a verse about not succumbing to the dangers of Marilyn Monroe-inspired excess and self-destruction.

“Spirit of Marilyn callin’ me–Orderin’, ballin’ me–Said she would never leave–Continuin’ to torture me–Tellin’ me to come with her–Underneath my comforter–She brought a gun with her–Then says to run with her–Took me on a balcony, tellin’ me to jump with her–Yeah, I’m into ghosts but–I ain’t doin’ stunts with her.”

It’s evocative not only of Minaj’s own track, ‘Marilyn Monroe,’ but also of the message of ‘Girl on Fire’ itself: Rising above negative influences to triumph.

Keys herself knows from experience that you need to rise above it, going back to her days in Hell’s Kitchen as a child and going on to initially struggle to snag a record deal. Keys soars in the chorus, which is simultaneously simple and glorious:

“Got our feet on the ground–And we’re burning it down–She got her head in the clouds–And she’s not backing down–This girl is on fire–This girl is on fire–She’s walking on fire–This girl is on fire.”

In her second verse, Minaj prays for strength and resilience to deal with critics and adversity, closing with “X in the box–Ain’t nobody checkin’ me.” You tell ‘em!

Both artists share the spotlight on this song, and they both earn it. Minaj’s lyrics are some of the most moving and meaningful of her career, while Keys returns to the piano and feel-good vibes that made ‘No One’ such a huge hit. Expect to hear this song nonstop on radio — and not to mind. These girls are both on fire.

There’s nothing that can quite compare to this Alicia Keys single with its super strong hook. The Grammy-winning singer, songwriter, pianist adds another to the catalogue with powerful new single, “Girl On Fire.”

Her voice soars to the highest heights as she belts out the chorus, “This girl is on fire–This girl is on fire–She’s walking on fire–This girl is on fire.”

According to Keys, “Girl on Fire” is about new beginnings, new perspectives and fresh starts… stripping away all the bad energy in your life and taking full control of the reigns and how you want to live,” It’s a declaration of female empowerment. Alicia proves her vocal worth in the stunning chorus and Minaj has a blistering middle eight to be proud of.  The track has a nostalgic aspect that Alicia conjures time and time again – she is certainly one of the most unique artists working in the music scene today.

Evidently, she has an ear for a good hook as the track brandishes two – one in the bridge and its title “Girl on Fire.”

“Girl On Fire” is centered around a harsh drum beat and Keys’ piano it’s a very organic affair. It proves Keys’ talent, in that she doesn’t feel the need to overproduce or squash her songs under auto tune and walls of noise – there is something refreshing and honest about ‘Girl On Fire’ that is needed in the charts.

Ending with a sing-a-long moment reminiscent of Keys’ ‘No One’, the single is steering what is set to be another glorious campaign. Nobody merges the soul and RnB world quite like Alicia Keys and her return sees her soar straight to the top of the game. Whether it’s her piano skills, her emotive voice or her impressive songwriting that draws you into her diverse fan base, ‘Girl on Fire’ will not let you down. It’s effortlessly beautiful and intrinsically Alicia.

Keys has readied three versions of ‘Girl on Fire’ – the original, the Inferno and and Blue Lighteditions. The main mix of the tune will debut on September 4th and Keys has already shared a preview of the track with MTV to hype her fans for her upcoming performance at the 2012 MTV VMA on September 6th.

This, her fifth studio album of the same name is due November 27 and will feature collaborations with Babyface, Emeli Sandé, Jamie xx, Pop & Oak and Swizz Beatz.

So now that you know how I feel about the tracks let me step back for just a bit and share the excitement expressed my Keys before these tracks were released.

Last month, Keys excitedly announced her song and album on her site, saying, “I’m in the studio right now working away on my new album and I am so excited!!! I’m ignited!!! I’m like a match to a flame! I’ve had the title of this album in my mind for a long time… It’s been hard to hold it back and now I’m not holding it back anymore! It is called Girl on Fire!!! And that’s exactly how I feel!!!”

It’s quite interesting how her energy last month seems to match what we’re receiving this month. Makes you chuckle.

Keys also said in an interview that her album was made to take her fans on a new journey. “So being a new mom, a new wife, being a woman who’s really trying to find herself, take control of my life, my business, my world, I think that there comes a certain point in life where you realize that you know you can really choose the life that you want, and so it’s really about that journey and kind of finding that bravery, finding that inner-strength to trust yourself, believe in yourself and know that you really have all the tools.”

Those words come from the artist herself, and I just wanted you to have that in the back of your mind as you listed to this version of “Girl On Fire.”

I’m perhaps not always dead on with every review I write, but this collaboration is magical, so magical that their performance Triumphs. There are no other words to describe such a victory; and I hope you like and enjoy the entire track.


Contributor D. Chandler

2 Responses to "Alicia Keys & Nicki Minaj’s “Girl On Fire” Performance Triumphs"

  1. DT   September 6, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    Fabulous review!

  2. sonyafunKaren   September 4, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    Love this review. The song seems a little slow here compared to some of the other places I’ve heard it. Anyway, I love it. I thought it would be more uptempo, given the title “Girl on Fire” but it really seems a little sad. Still a great song.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.