Album Review: Khalid - Free Spirit
Reviewed by: Michael Lovero
“I listen to his music because he’s a vibe.” That’s what any Khalid fan will tell you if asked why they love his music. With the popularity of American Teen back in 2017, Khalid’s next full-length project has been highly anticipated by not only his die-hard fans, but most fans of R&B in general, including myself. Tracks like ‘Young Dumb and Broke,’ ‘Location,’ ‘Winter,’ and ‘8TEEN’ were all great singles off of his first studio album and made it interesting to see where he would go next. He claimed to have “played it safe” with American Teen, and that much more would be risked on Free Spirit. Did he actually do that though? It would be ridiculous to deny that Khalid is one of the best artists to listen to when you’re simply just chillin’, but I was really expecting him to take a next step on this project now that he’s four years older than he was when writing American Teen.
To be honest, I really don’t feel he risked a whole lot on this new album or that he really changed his sound much. He still seems kind of one-dimensional for someone with all his talent. The production of this album didn’t feel any different to that of American Teen and while that in itself may not be a bad thing, it’s still a bit disappointing to see that we’re getting a similar Khalid to what we got over a year ago.
At the same time, there was a lot I liked about this album and appreciate about Khalid’s work. For starters, I don’t think Khalid can make a “bad” song. I don’t think his voice allows for it. He’s simply too talented to make a song that isn’t listenable, and while a lot of his tracks sound similar, or go over a similar beat, they’re still fairly enjoyable to hear.
If you compare him to someone like The Weeknd or Drake, he’s definitely much more consistent than both of those guys considering they can make some terrible R&B songs at times. Onto the album; As for the specifics of what I liked here, I thought the introduction track, ‘Intro,’ was outstanding. His comparison of how he feels when he’s with/without his girl to Heaven or Hell was pretty great. I loved the hook on‘Don’t Pretend’ and thought it really made the track one of the better cuts on this thing. But I think my favorite track was ‘Hundred.’ The most upbeat song on here, it picked up the pace of the album and really went away from the same old formula that Khalid uses for most songs.
With this album, if you’re a Khalid fan, you’re going to love it. It’s pretty solid and he still provides the waviness that many get out of his music. There isn’t a song on here that you can say he didn’t work hard on, but at the same time he seems to have just gone through the motions. It’s a trade-off of emotions for me since I got a good album, but was really expecting more from someone with Khalid’s potential.