By Beth Johnson
June 29, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT
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It’s obvious why Keys, a 20-year-old, piano-playing neo-soulster, was handpicked by Clive Davis for his new label. Her influences — Aretha, Mayfield, Wonder, ’80s Jacko — are evident and impeccable. And as a multitasking singer-songwriter-coproducer, she provides plenty of excitement, from the gospel fervor of lovesick righteousness on ”Fallin,” to her Prince-ly funk of ”How Come You Don’t Call Me.” Though the second half slackens with sad-sack teen themes, Songs is a debut full of promise.

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