Alicia Keys details the story of a grieving mother whose child was murdered in new song, “Perfect Way to Die.” Cowritten and produced by Keys and Sebastian Kole, the song chronicles the unjust killings of innocent lives and discusses the uprising against police brutality and systemic racism.
The ballad opens on an average day that quickly turns violent. “Simple walk to the corner store/Mama never thought she would be/Getting a call from the coroner, she sings. “Said her sons been gunned down/Been gunned down.” As the story unfolds, it alludes to the deaths of Michael Brown and Sandra Bland and the protests that followed and continue.
More from Rolling Stone
- Alicia Keys Boosts Call Demanding Justice for Breonna Taylor
- Jay-Z, Alicia Keys Sign Roc Nation Letter Demanding Justice for Ahmaud Arbery
- Alicia Keys Honors Unsung Heroes on 'Good Job'
“Another dream lost/Another king and queen lost,” she sings. “Another broken promise/They refuse to make right/Oh another night to live in fear/Oh another night that you’re not here/Another reason to get out there and fight.”
“Of course there is no perfect way to die. This phrase doesn’t even make sense but that’s what makes the title so powerful and heartbreaking because so many have died unjustly,” Keys said in a statement. “It’s written from the point of view of the mother whose child has been murdered because of the system of racism that looks at Black life as unworthy. We all know none of these innocent lives should have been taken due to the culture of police violence.”
“Perfect Way to Die” will appear on her upcoming seventh studio album, Alicia, which will arrive this fall. On Friday night (June 19th), Keys will battle John Legend during Verzuz, the online beat battle series Keys’ husband Swizz Beatz and Timbaland launched. Earlier this month, Keys participated in a video campaign that calls for the officers involved in the killing of Breonna Taylor to be fired and arrested and she also signed Roc Nation’s letter demanding justice for Ahmaud Arbery.
See where your favorite artists and songs rank on the Rolling Stone Charts.