"New Day" (4:18)
Producer: Swizz Beatz, Dr. Dre
For her first single after marrying producer Swizz Beatz and becoming a new mother, Alicia Keys taps her hubby for production duties on a track that breaks new sonic ground for the singer. Featuring some of the hardest-hitting beats she's been behind since 2004's "Karma," "New Day" tells the story of a fresh start, without actually saying much. "Party people say / Party people say ehhhh / It's a new day," she sings on the reggae-lite chorus, while the verses don't rise above platitudes like "It's now or never at all / I'm gonna give it my all / whether I rise or fall." Of course, lyrics have never been Keys' strong suit, so her keen ear for melody and a newfound knack for party-worthy chants are enough to save "New Day" from becoming a throwaway transition single. Although Swizz Beatz won't be present on most of Keys' upcoming fifth album, he did indicate in a recent interview that the record finds her heading in a new musical direction -- which presumably means we can expect more of this newly confident side of Keys in the near future.