Khalid, who is known for his unique R&B sound, released his new album "Free Spirit" April 5. This is Khalid’s third album release and has scored the highest for him on Billboard 200, but fans have a different story. Songs such as "Location," "Young Dumb and Broke" and "American Teen" changed the R&B genre for the better, which earned Khalid quite the reputation. His latest album release does not live up to his hype.
"Free Spirit" consists of 17 songs that really all sound the same. This album has some musical strengths, but you can tell Khalid played it safe compared to his earlier debuts. Khalid released a few singles prior to the full release to get fans excited, but ended up letting fans down due to the early releases being the only good songs on the album.
"Talk," a single released in Feb. 2019, is by far the strongest track on the album. In collaboration with Disclosure, a star producer and artist, Khalid made sure to bring his A-game with this track. In this modern dating world, people tend to take things too fast and not live in the moment. Khalid’s message in "Talk" is to try to slow down, take dating one step at a time and talk with each other instead of caving to societal dating pressures. This track has become very popular since its release, and as of April 6, the single has earned the number 40 spot on the Hot 100. Though I am not a Khalid fan, I still enjoy this track due to its unique sound and lyrical message.
Even though "Talk" is such a strong and popular track, it does not make up for the lukewarm remainder of the album. Khalid has earned his popularity due to his strong voice and unique sound, but this was not shown off in any way in his new album. Every song sounds the same, and sometimes he even sounds like he is whining, which is not normal for Khalid.
Including a strong track from a previous album is what saved Khalid from the album’s doom. "Better" is the lead single from Khalid’s album "Suncity." This track showcases Khalid’s famous unique sound and upbeat tempos. This track is number four on the album, so it can give listeners a break from the heavy themes and whiney lyrics the rest of the album has to offer.
Later in the album, a familiar and famous voice saves the end of the album. The track "Outta My Head" is by Khalid and John Mayer, who is another powerhouse in the music industry. This collaboration was not planned but proved magical.
This track features the two singer-songwriters speaking their thoughts about a girl who is stuck in their minds. This is the collaboration we did not know we needed, but cannot live without.
Ultimately,"Free Spirit" has some strong points and some weak points. Overall, this album is not my favorite, and it is disappointing because it does not feature the Khalid sound and vibe we all know and love. There are a couple of strong tracks in the album, but two out of 17 tracks is not enough to save this album from being a flop.