Khalid - Free Spirit (2 LP) (140g Vinyl/ Includes Download Insert) (23.5" x 35.5" Poster) (Gatefold Jacket) Vinyl
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"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 the while earning five Grammy nominations and accumulating a stack of platinum certifications. As much as any other artist who 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 to. 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 an illustrative 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." 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. ~ Andy Kellman
- Genre: Pop
- Format: Vinyl