Part I of this song is much harder edged, with Jay-Z rapping over the top, and a hip hop beat.
This version places Alicia Keys (and her fantastic voice) in the spotlight, and the production is much more gentle to reflect that. The piano is emphasised too, so that for most of the song it’s just mainly just her vocals and the piano. A drum beat kicks in at the end, and at certain points some light backup vocals enter the scene.
But it’s a song which thrives off Alicia Keys, and although Jay Z’s version was more popular, she proves her worth here.
The lyrics are an upbeat homage to New York City, which presents a more optimistic view of the poverty and violence which blight many of its areas.
The first part of this song was released in 2009; this one was also released in 2009 on Keys’ album The Element Of Freedom, but was only released as a single in 2010 after the huge success it had on the U.K. Singles Chart based on downloads.