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Download Free Spirit

by Khalid
  • Release type: Album
  • Year: 2019
  • Tracks: 17
  • Duration: 57:15
  • Size, Mb: 131.37
  • Bitrate: MP3 320

Review

"Everybody wants a favor, everybody needs me," Khalid exhaustedly grumbles on "Hundred," a dispirited soft pop ballad placed in the middle of Free Spirit. Going by the unrelenting campaign to keep him in the spotlight since he hit with "Location," the statement doesn't seem all that hyperbolic. During the two years that passed between American Teen and Free Spirit, he took part in a decade's worth of collaborations and stylistic crossovers, plus frequent touring amid nonstop promotional duties, all while earning five Grammy nominations and accumulating a stack of platinum certifications. As much as any other artist shot to fame on the brink of adulthood, Khalid could be forgiven for turning in a woeful post-fame album and checking out. "Hundred" isn't the only song on which he vents. The downcast "Bad Luck" lashes out at parasitic behavior, and in a number of other songs, Khalid seeks escape from stifling situations, consumed by internal conflict, this close to swearing off all communication via WiFi for at least five minutes. These feelings aren't unique to pop stars, and even though they make up a fair portion of Free Spirit, Khalid and his fellow songwriters never express them in such specific language that an everyday listener can't relate. More than anything else, the album works through emotional struggles of early adulthood -- from anguish over faltering relationships and insecurity about expressing grief, to yearning for a simple stolen moment beneath the bleachers. Consequently, Free Spirit is not illustrative as a title. In the song itself, the notion is merely aspirational and wistful, with Khalid vividly recalling, "We were drownin' down our memories/A cemetery full of broken bottles, man, that liquor bleed." Only the kind of thunderous "Heaven," involving Father John Misty and a couple of his associates, sounds too heavy in sentiment, with Khalid aching, "Lord, there's nothing for me left out here." It adds unnecessary weight to an hour-long LP with little joy or even relief, one that is nearly static in energy level despite a carousel of producers -- completely different than that of American Teen -- featuring Murda Beatz, StarGate, Disclosure, and D'Mile. An upside is that Khalid's voice is smoother, richer, and therefore more expressive here than it was on the debut. It'll probably sound even better after a long-deserved break.

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