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Khalid - Free Spirit (Album Review)

Thursday, 11 April 2019 Written by Milly McMahon

Khalid pens sophisticated, understated R&B melodies supported by a moodiness that listeners can readily relate to. On his first album, ‘American Teen’, we saluted a charming vocalist’s brittle vulnerability laid bare on record, and some honest words on anxiety and insecurity characterise its follow up, 'Free Spirit'. At 21 years old, he’s still figuring it all out.

Striking a resonant chord with both his own media-obsessed generation and those who came before, Khalid's soothing rhythms and relaxing tones are the perfect antidote to IRL triggers. But something that also feels noticeable on 'Free Spirit' is that Khalid is perhaps a prisoner in his own mind. 

He’s overthinking things, doubting himself and calling out people whom he thinks pursue him for his profile rather than a genuine connection.

There’s a reticence that has apparently become deeply ingrained in the El Paso native, and a deeper sadness weaves together the slow dancing tempos Khalid serenades us with. 

Paradise is spellbinding. Its lyrics detail introspective, rose-tinted memories of happiness, interspersed with howling guitars and plodding percussion—long-time hero Frank Ocean feels ever-present as a formative creative inspiration. John Mayer’s contribution on Outta My Head, meanwhile, illuminates a sexier side to Khalid, with some ‘80s riffs challenging his voice to achieve more hopeful heights.

There are plenty of obvious standout tracks on ‘Free Spirit’ and, depending on the light Khalid wants to present himself in, a complex, deep thinking character matures here. Despite being compared disparagingly to Drake as just another anxious and introspective millennial songwriter, Khalid’s attempts to reconcile talent and melancholy on this LP are compelling and emotional. 

His authenticity and unfiltered aesthetic strike a chord with his audiences because he writes and speaks from the heart: uncensored and soulful. He struggles with finding faith in his abilities and, in truth, with liking himself 24/7. He does not ask for sympathy or our sadness, but seeks a connection to root us all the fragility of existence.

Khalid Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Tue September 17 2019 - LONDON O2
Fri September 20 2019 - GLASGOW SSE Hydro
Sat September 21 2019 - BIRMINGHAM Resorts World Arena
Sun September 22 2019 - LEEDS first direct Arena
Tue September 24 2019 - DUBLIN 3Arena
Wed September 25 2019 - BELFAST SSE Arena Belfast

Click here to compare & buy Khalid Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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