Two years after the release of his debut album, “American Teen,” Khalid released his much anticipated sophomore album, “Free Spirit,” on April 5. Khalid gave his fans a teaser of what to expect when he released his ep, “Suncity,” in October of 2018. The album’s lead single, “Better,” reached no. 16 on the Billboard charts ahead of the albums release.
“Free Spirit” lived up to the hype, taking the listener on a 55 minute journey of soothing melodies and deep lyrics to match Khalid’s new mature writing style. Even with the 55 minute run time and 18 song slate, Khalid keeps the listener engaged. There are multiple well written songs that convey a message that Khalid is trying to get across.
Artists nowadays often fall into the habit of choosing quantity of music for their albums instead of taking the time to create quality music. There are a lot of instances where an artist will put an album together with two or three songs that took time and put filler in the rest of the album. Khalid does not fall into that habit with “Free Spirit.” While not every song is a hit, every song is different from the others and evokes a different feeling. Along with the album’s breakout single “Better,” “Heaven” and “Self” standout amongst other strong mixes of soulful lyrics and comforting melodies. “Better” peaked at no. 16 on the Billboard charts the week of the album’s release. As one of the few songs with a more upbeat approach, Khalid talks about how the situation that he is in could not be any better. While it may come across as a love song, he is really discussing a situation where he is just with a friend doing everything a relationship would offer but without everything he does not want. On “Heaven,” Khalid speaks in a more hopeless tone speaking to “heaven,” who he is asking for an “offer” from. This apostrophe makes for a memorable moment in the album due to the dramatic shift from his previous work to this song. Along with the slow melancholic beat backing it, “Heaven” sets itself up as one of the better songs on “Free Spirit.” “Self” is all about Khalid’s self reflection, where he is speaking about himself as if it was someone else. His vulnerability in the song helps the song stand out amongst the others. While “Heaven” or “Self” might not find their ways in the top ten on the Billboard charts, they stand out amongst the other 16 songs as two of the best on the album.
Ahead of the album’s release, Khalid discussed wanting to show the world that he is a more mature artist than he was when he released “American Teen,” and that was obvious throughout the album. Now that he is no longer singing about high school problems and the joys of being young and in love. Instead, Khalid dives into topics like his self view in “Self” and a mature side of love with the pain that can come with it like “Bad Luck.” In an interview, Khalid talked about how he wanted to start this album opposite of how “American Teen” started. “American Teen” started more up beat in contrast to “Free Spirit.” Khalid shows a literal change from himself in “American Teen” and “Free Spirit” just between the songs “8teen” and “Twenty One,” the former of which was more upbeat and focused on the glory of turning 18, while “Twenty One” talks about the pain of being 21 and how he feels. The contrast in the two songs are just one example of the darker tone Khalid took with this album.
“Free Spirit” is one of the top albums of the year so far, with songs that show that R&B music is still strong. It is worth the listen for anyone with its soothing melodies and strong lyrics. The album was worth the two year wait between full projects because it truly felt like a complete project, with it not leaving much else to be desired. With every listen, the album just gets better and more engaging. “Free Spirit” reached number one on the billboard 200, making it Khalid’s first debut number one. The album can be heard on all streaming sites including Apple Music, Spotify and Youtube.