Alicia Keys The Element of Freedom (J-Records) Alicia Keys may claim she had more 'freedom' in the studio to make her fourth album, but if that's the case, she needs a bit of hand-holding in the future. Several of the 16 songs sound strong, yet the blandness quotient is extremely high on a release that's supposedly also her most personal. Take That's How Strong My Love Is, which is built around a basic keyboard progression and Keys' escalating R&B-style vocals about yes, how strong her love is. As Keys' lyrics rely on banal analogies, her vocals simply increase in intensity until the song is over. Elsewhere, Beyonce outshines her on the Single Ladies castoff Put it in a Love Song. The shimmering synth-laden song Wait Til You See My Smile is really the style Keys should aim for if she wants to make the truly great album that she's capable of.