Hello and welcome back to The Hitlist, where I take on the songs I love to hate. While I wouldn’t really consider myself a fan of Alicia Keys, I’ll admit that she’s a pretty good singer. I think that she’s able to sound soulful without going overboard like someone like, say, BeyoncÃ©. And trust me, we’ll get to her later. But I think the reason I’m not a true fan is that she seems to mainly focus on how good she can sound instead of the actual quality of her songs. Not to say all of her songs are bad–I can handle “No One”, for example–but most of her stuff has been forgettable. Well, at least from what I’ve heard from her. Unfortunately,Â her hit from a couple years ago, “Girl on Fire”, is memorable for all the wrong reasons. So without further ado, let’s take a look.
So like I said before, Keys isn’t a bad singer, but just like “Drive By”–which I thought I would never have to mention again–lyrics are an issue. Unlike that song, however, these lyrics are more repetitive, and thus more grating. For example, wanna know how many times she says this line:
This girl is on fire
and any other variation of it? 12. Twelve times! And 3/4 of that is the chorus. In fact, the only line in the chorus that isn’t…that…is:
She’s walking on fire
So she’s on fire, but she’s also walking on fire? To quote Linkara, “The funk’n’wagnalls does that mean?” Oh, and the world in which she lives? Also on fire. And she wants to burn it down. And her eyes are fire.
And that’s the main problem with the lyrics. Not only are they repetitive as all get-out, but the way it’s worded, it’s hard not to take it literally. So we’re left to believe that this girl, the world she lives in, and even her eyes are made of fire. In other words, she’s the Flame Princess from “Adventure Time”.
But it can’t be all lyrics, right? There has to be other problems. Actually, there are. For starters, Alicia usually winds upÂ singing off-beat, and she just generally sounds like she’s going through the motions. And did I mention there was a version with Nikki Minaj? Yeah, she has two parts, including the bridge, and none of it has to do with anything. She’s just rambling on and on like she does in her other songs.
Other than all of that, there’s not much to say. It’s just a dull song. Nothing new or groundbreaking is said. And it sucks because I kinda know what they were going for. She wanted to make a female empowerment song, and that’s not a bad thing. If you want to encourage someone, I’m all for it. But you have to make sure you know how to say it without it getting lost in translation. It doesn’t have to be overly poetic, but it doesn’t have to say “she’s on fire” over and over like a broken record either.
Title card by Kane Fletcher