Alicia Keys is ablaze with confidence in 'Girl on Fire'

Steve Jones, USA TODAY
Alicia Keys' 'Girl on Fire' shows a new self-confidence.
  • *** 1/2 out of four
  • The title track features a rap by Nicki Minaj
  • She shows a new self-confidence in her first album since 2009

Alicia Keys has gotten married and had a child since we last heard from her on 2009's The Element of Freedom.

But with Girl on Fire (***1/2 out of four), she returns brimming with self-confidence, which shines through on the soulful Brand New Me.

She shares that new sense of empowerment in the powerful New Day and anthemic title track, which includes an off-kilter rap by Nicki Minaj.

Through her sometimes raspy vocals and intimate piano work, she conveys vulnerability and strength on such ballads as Fire We Make and That's When I Knew. The passion in her songs seem to be an outgrowth of the passion she has for the music itself.

Download:Girl on Fire, New Day, Not Even the King, Brand New Me