Taking advantage of the current world situation, 'Good Job' sees a perfect release window during these trying times, offering some sentimentality and nothing much more.
When Alicia Keys released ‘Underdog’ back in January 2020, it hardly reached the heights of previous hit singles like ‘Empire State of Mind’, ‘Superwoman’ or ‘Girl on Fire’. Yet, with its heartwarming lyrics, variation and social aptness in the rise of the Coronavirus, it found a pretty strong following and currently sits with just over 43 million streams on Spotify and 23 million views on Youtube. Being a song that wasn’t necessarily about the world at current, its celebration of teachers, doctors and the “underdogs” meant listeners managed to resonate with it on a deeper level and saw its breakthrough on the charts. However, ‘Good Job’ tries to monopolise on this very same aspect as Keys’ release for trying to resonate with people while simultaneously pulling at their heartstrings. While again it manages to achieve its aim somewhat, it also comes about with some emotional hollowness that has its meandering lyrics and dull accompaniment, rendering it as quite forgetful.
‘Good Job’ is driven by only the piano and Keys’ voice, both which work beautifully together. It’s hard to doubt Keys’ competence as a musician in her vocal performances because there’s a soft rawness that never works better when supported with the piano. However, the piano just isn’t enough and doesn’t leave much in the way of musicality or melody. In fact, it’s the same generic piano stylings that countless of musicians use for all their sentimental expositions and showcases none of the musical prowess she’s demonstrated before in songs like ‘Hallelujah’, in her criminally underrated 2016 album ‘Here’. The song lacks variation as a rule nor does it take any risks, and while its lyrics at times can be beautiful and have your heart swimming with praise for those we often leave unappreciated, it’s simply not enough. Lyrics are not enough to drive a whole song, and sadly it seems to be the one thing that Keys focuses on as the piano revolves somewhat simply over a repetitive strain of piano chords and nothing else. It’s a shame because it’s a rare case where I feel simplicity mars the song. With a little added accompaniment, even just some violins softly gracing the background, the song could have been accentuated so much better.
As much as I want to like the song for its celebration of those unsung heroes, Keys’ handling of it sadly does its message no justice and leaves it an upcoming blight on her new album. While her attempt is admirable and seems more like a misstep rather than an insight into the upcoming album’s quality, this song could have done with a little extra something to help elevate it to new heights.
Alicia Keys’ ‘Good Job’ is out now via RCA Records.