Closing my eyes and listening to the song. It starts off with a piano playing and a soft melody with Alicia Keys voice saying, “Ohh New York”. Starting the song like this makes you wonder what she is saying because she speaks so softly and her voice ricochets out like a rain ripple.
Twenty Three seconds into the song, a symbol is hit making its sound reminding me of the biggest ripple in the puddle. The beat fades lower to hear only the piano playing and Alicia Keys starts to sing the song with a low alto voice. At the end of each couple stance of bars, her voice ricochets once again giving the effect that it did in the beginning of the song. Doing this gives you the sense of the melody.
The lyrics start with making New York, the city, a place where you come to see the lights and action. By the second couple of stance bars, the lyrics still keep the same meaning with action and state that “the streets are mean”, still keeping the same low piano melody. The lyric continue talking about New York and the action saying, “If I could make it here, I could make it anywhere” but then does a 180 to say, “That’s what they say”. Here is where the lyrics change to mean something else; making New York a life of dreams if you can make it there.
By fifty-seven seconds into the song, you hear the sound of the symbol again and the melody goes back to the soft piano and alto voice of Alicia Keys. At fifty-nine seconds, the piano melody power turns up just a couple octaves and has its own small solo. A minute and four seconds into the song, the melody and temp begins to change. The power of Alicia Keys starts to get higher, but still low. Also the piano gets powerful. It sounds like the beat is building up to something that is going to be soulful.
Then by a minute and ten seconds into the song, Alicia Keys voice turns into a first alto and sounds like many rain drop ripples, which the tempo and piano melody goes hand and hand with. The symbols also become abundant at this point.
Five seconds later the back-up singers come in and “Ahh” sounding like a church choir or a heavenly raise. In the chorus, Alicia Keys repeats “New York” putting emphasis on the city, like a powerful chant.
Going into a minute and thirty-seven seconds, the tempo and piano melody comes back down to where it was earlier in the song. Alicia Keys voice also comes back down to the soft alto like the beginning.
The lyrics in the second verse start with hard working women in New York. Kind of like a feminist thought. People always talk about Broadway and famous people in New York, but never the hard working normal people, but Alicia Keys brings them up right here. She also talks about the drug business that went on in New York. Back in the 1950s and 60s, New York was a big place for drugs. If you look closer at the lyrics, Alicia Keys starts about the positive things in New York in the first stance of bars in both verses, and then goes to some negative things in the second stance of bars. Then by the third stance of bars she goes back to positive things. The verses go back and forth, from positive to negative to positive.
By two minutes and nineteen seconds, the song is going back to the chorus which has the temp and melody that builds up like in a scary movie when you know something is about to happen; then goes right into the chorus by four seconds later. The melody goes back to the powerful piano and first alto voice.
Two minutes and fifty-one seconds into the song, the bridge comes in. The tempo and melody is still at its high powerful feel, but Alicia Key voice goes back to the tempo she had in the beginning of the song. It gives you the feel of listening to the music and feeling like you’re in New York. By two minutes fifty-eight seconds, Alicia Key builds back up just like the music and the last piece of the chorus comes in with the back-up singers very powerful at three minutes three seconds with the melody which is very strong with the piano, drums, and symbols to finish off the song.