Alicia Keys imagines a world where "sex is holy and war is obscene" in the soulful "Holy War," a track from her upcoming sixth LP, Here. "We can hate each other and fear each other/ Build these walls between each other," she warns over delicate, fingerpicked acoustic guitar. "Baby, blow by blow and brick by brick/ Keep yourself locked in, yourself locked in."
The track quietly builds its minimalist arrangement, incorporating finger snaps, echoing snares and snaking, reversed samples. Keys explores her dynamic vocal range, from a soft croon to a raspy, full-throated roar. "If war is holy and sex is obscene/ We've got it twisted in this lucid dream," she preaches. "Baptized in boundaries, schooled in sin/ Divided by difference, sexuality and skin."
Keys performed the ballad during her set for Keep a Child Alive's recent Black Ball 2016 benefit concert. "I think it's perfect for right now," she says, introducing the song in a live clip.