Khalid’s ‘Free Spirit’ opens new doors

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Khalid’s ‘Free Spirit’ opens new doors

Khalid's

Khalid's "Free Spirit" released April 5.

Macy McClish

Khalid's "Free Spirit" released April 5.

Macy McClish

Macy McClish

Khalid's "Free Spirit" released April 5.

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The much-anticipated album by R&B artist Khalid (pronounced Kuh-leed), titled “Free Spirit,” released April 5 and gave listeners a new look at the talents of the El Paso native.

Khalid’s first full album, “American Teen”, was released in 2017. Ever since, Khalid has worked with artists like Logic, Bad Bunny, Halsey and Billie Eilish. Overall he has been producing hits frequently and consistently been on Billboard Hot 100 charts. “Free Spirit,” his first full album since “American Teen,” is a major shift of mood comparatively.

In taking each song by its own, the new album is lyrically stronger than “American Teen,” but the sounds are not as quite unique. ”

— Luke Bruce, 11

Overall, “Free Spirit” has a more somber and slow feel compared to “American Teen”’s often happier, coming-of-age album. “Free Spirit,” however, is more about the artist’s early 20s now and finding personal freedom. Therein lies the major problem of the album. While “American Teen” had millennial anthem songs like “Young, Dumb, and Broke” and “Location,” “Free Spirit” just lacks the same magic. All the songs seem to just be there. It doesn’t hold the same significance the songs together in “American Teen” had. The album is merely meshed together. In taking each song on its own, the new album is lyrically stronger than “American Teen,” but the sounds are not as quite unique. However, ultimately those are small critiques of the entire album. I doubt when it comes to other artists I would even have the same critiques, but obviously Khalid set such a high bar with “American Teen,” that it’s not likely his second album would live up to its predecessor’s greatness.  

All of those negatives aside, Khalid still has a great album in “Free Spirit.” Khalid keeps his soft easiness in his tracks and still keeps to himself in a lot of the songs.  After the pleasing “Intro,” he starts the album on songs of guitar strums and melancholy lyrics. “Bad Luck” and “My Bad” are crucial examples of the shift in vibes compared to “American Teen.”

Songs like “Alive” and “Hundred” show the artist pouring himself into those lyrics. They show more raw emotion and feeling.”

— Luke Bruce, 11

Many of the tracks are different sounds for him. They have easy guitar strums, and the lyrics are a lot more somber and low. Songs like “Alive” and “Hundred” show the artist pouring himself into those lyrics. They show more raw emotion and feeling. In “Alive” Khalid sings, “I need another chance to say goodbye, I shouldn’t have to die to feel alive.” These somber songs are a breath of fresh air for Khalid. They’re less him being safe and more him being honest with with the real emotions of life.

While there is a melancholy feel to the album, many of the tracks have honest upbeat jams which made people fall in love with Khalid’s work in the first place. Some of the other songs on the album have a lot more pep and could make anyone bop their head. “Outta My Head,” the song which features John Mayer, is peppy and has the classic 80s mix of sounds from Khalid. It is just a smooth and fun track which is easy to get into. Other tracks like “Talk” and “Better” play into that same feeling.

Although it’s been previously released in Khalid’s EP “Suncity,” “Saturday Nights” is an easy favorite. The smooth melody and impressive vocals make a great ending to a mostly great album. While the Kane Brown remix is easily the better version, it still is a great piece to end the album on less of a melancholy feeling and more of a feeling to embody the words “Free Spirit.”

In its entirety, “Free Spirit” is an obvious great addition to Khalid’s artistic profile. While it has shortcomings in theme and sometimes sound, the album is expanding his musical horizons. It is a whole shift of tone for the artist, but has great pieces which are sure worth a listen.

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