“No One,” “Wreckless Love” and “I Need You” speak glowingly of romantic love. “The Thing About Love” takes a balanced look at the ups and downs of life and relationships (“Everybody laughs, everybody cries/ Oh, it could hurt you baby, but give it a lil’ try … Don’t give up”). Keys asks God for angelic guidance on the vaguely spiritual “Prelude to a Kiss.” She strikes a no-nonsense stance with a deceptive beau (“Go Ahead”) and optimistically views another bad relationship as a learning experience (“Lesson Learned”).”Superwoman” urges diligent females—including the one in the mirror—to keep on keepin’ on. Lines on several tunes respect each new day as a gift. One of them, the life-affirming “Sure Looks Good to Me,” advocates taking healthy risks and feeling empowered to “Live, love … give love.” Her liner notes include a prominent appeal to support an agency dedicated to helping children infected with HIV.
Though discreet, a few nods to couples spending the night together lack marital context. On “Teenage Love Affair” a girl lets a boy get to “third base” before she throws on the brakes.
This Grammy-winner exudes a courteous confidence, appreciating the rare gift of true love while exploring pain with a sense of perspective and purpose. As CDs by R&B divas go, As I Am is a pretty solid pick for families willing to hit the skip button at “Teenage Love Affair.”
After serving as an associate editor at NavPress’ Discipleship Journal and consulting editor for Current Thoughts and Trends, Adam now oversees the editing and publishing of Plugged In’s reviews.