Khalid is best known for his soothing and relaxing style, and the R&B singer’s latest album exceeded expectations. “Free Spirit,” which was released on April 5, gives off the same vibe as his previous album “American Teen,” wherein he uses calming electronic instrumentals. This gives his new album a laid-back, almost reggae sound.
Still, this album is more than just relaxing instrumentals. In “Free Spirit,” Khalid talks about his experiences, such as his relationship experiences since gaining freedom as an adult. Through the music, Khalid walks the listener through his personal journey of adulthood, but it does this in a way that is shown through the calming melodies he uses.
There are many tracks on this album that I enjoyed because listening to them makes me feel less stressed. For example, “Outta My Head” is one of my favorite tracks because it features John Mayer, an artist I have listened to for years. This is one of my favorite John Mayer collaborations thus far because he and Khalid’s voices harmonize well together.
Many of the tracks also sound very similar to one another, as well as to tracks on Khalid’s previous work. But this does not fully take away my desire to listen to the album because I still enjoy listening to Khalid’s music regardless. His music is infectiously upbeat, and I always feel happier after listening to Khalid’s music.
Although the album is peppy, it also tackles some complex themes. “Twenty One” walks the listener through what Khalid has experienced as his friends have turned 21. This song talks about the issues that are not always brought up in today’s music, such as anxiety and ways that people cope with that. I appreciate that Khalid talked about topics that are not always easy to talk about, like on this song and others, such as “Bluffin,” where he talks about the gray area that comes along with a breakup, such as getting back together and lingering commitment within the relationship.
Khalid does not sugar-coat the truth in this album. I enjoy that he tells it how it is in his new music, but he does it in a subtle way because his sound is so laid-back. Regardless of its downfalls, I enjoyed the album because, as an artist, Khalid uses his words well, but he also presents the message in a way that relaxes the listener.