by Alicia Keys (2009)
One good thing about winter isolation is that I rarely have to inadvertently listen to the radio playing in stores, that plus an ability to fast forward commercials? I’ve heard nary a Sugar Ray or an American Idol winner song in months and months.
The down side is that once and a while an uplifting gem slips through my radar, like Alicia Keys’ Empire State of Mind Part 2.
I am not sure if it makes me lame to the broader world that I didn’t know this song (when I asked the manicurist who sang it, she was polite enough to not give me an “are you serious?” look, yet I could tell that something had been decided for her about me right then and there). It was, as I’ve since learned, all the rage almost two years ago.
But then again, among the I-only-listen-to-radio-for-NPR crowd, it might make me just as lame to be so in love with such a popular hit – after all, it played right after the Gin Blossoms’ “Hey Jealousy”.
But lame or not – this sounds like modern day Donna Summer and there’s not a thing wrong with that. It makes one feel all alive with excitement, teaming with the hope of Diana Ross’ Mahogany stepping out to make her dreams come true in a huge shawl and a maxi skirt.
It reminds me of the initial thrill of coming to New York, when it felt as exciting in it’s vast energy as it was intimidating. And while I don’t walk down a street in Soho with the same dreamy eyes I had back in those days, the city can still amaze: when you drive back home during dusk and the skyline welcomes you, when snow first starts falling in the night time street lights, when… see look at me. I am super sentimental and it’s all because of this song.
But not the original Jay-Z version, I get less emotional to raps about Robert DeNiro.