Alicia Keys is the musical equivalent of a five-tool player in baseball: She excels at singing, writing, playing, producing and performing in concert — and as a bonus, she's the rare diva who's blessed with both a photogenic exterior and a brain that can be described as "fully functioning." No wonder her decision to put herself in the hands of song doctor Linda Perry for much of As I Am, her latest CD, seemed so quizzical. After all, she didn't need the same sort of reclamation work as, say, Pink, whom Perry helped transform from a video trollop to a tough, funny video trollop. But if the resulting album sounded mildly compromised, there's no denying its success: At a time when shifting 500,000 units is the equivalent of selling five million a few years ago, As I Am has been certified triple platinum. Guess even a hit-master like Keys can use a little help from a teammate or two.
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