Low Spirits for Khalid’s “Free Spirit”

By Wyatt Zwik, Academics Editor

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Young pop/R&B singer Khalid has smashed into the mainstream with his sophomore album, Free Spirit.

The opening track, “Intro,” is an overblown, unnecessary attempt at a powerful opening. It doesn’t set the stage or mood of the album, since it’s just so bland. I’d much rather the album just start off with the following track, “Bad Luck.”

There’s no edge, no personality, and nothing that separates him from his contemporaries. Khalid tries to carve his own niche, but ends up with an album full of tired and tried tracks. It’s a soul album without much soul.

It’s the type of music you would hear at a party, and just shrug your shoulders and think, “Well, it’s not bad I guess.” It’s innocent enough to be background music, but really nothing more. No one would complain if they heard it, they’d just go with the flow and be fine with it.

Free Spirit is also unbelievably bloated. It could have easily been trimmed down to 10 or 12 tracks, instead of the plodding 17 track, 57 minute album. album. Khalid’s personality — or in this case, lack thereof — just can’t fill, let me say it again, a 57 minute album. It’s the tracks that run under three minutes, such as “Paradise” or “Alive,” that are the biggest offenders, as those tracks often add nothing of value to the album.

However much of a drag this album may be, it is well produced, and Khalid is by no means a bad singer. It just seems as if he’s squandering his talent making boring, generic pop tunes. Instead of trying something different or more exciting, Khalid decided to make the most bland album that almost anyone could marginally enjoy. It’s undeniable the talent is there, it just isn’t applied consistently throughout the album.

The track “Heaven” is a fantastic ballad composed by Father John Misty, and sounds like something from his last album God’s Favorite Customer. This is definitely one of Khalid’s best vocal performances, and a much needed refresher after track after track of boring songs. Regrettably, it’s followed by “Saturday Nights,” just yet another facade of emotion.

For someone with as much raw talent as Khalid, it still sounds like he’s trying to find his own voice. Between boring soul ballads and way too many tracks, the album finds Khalid stuck in between trying to find a place for his newfound pop-stardom and more sentimental side.

Rating: 4/10