Khalid’s ‘Free Spirit’ album review: Clockenflap headliner turns in mixed effort

Second full-length album from American R&B singer features some songs that are very similar to each other

Chris Gillett |

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Big things were expected from Clockenflap headliner Khalid’s second full-length album. However, while Free Spirit has some decent moments, it is let down by it’s predicable lyric themes and lack of bold choruses.

Initially, the record does have some momentum, with fizzing bass notes and held-out strings in Intro, followed by the vibrato-picked harmony guitars of Bad Luck, where Khalid delivers the biting lines, “No one really means it when they’re wishing you well/And people only love you when they needin’ your wealth.” My Bad, though still a decent song, feels like a weaker version of Bad Luck.

This format repeats throughout Free Spirit, where two near-identical songs are paired together, without either really standing out. The playful bounce of Talk appears again in Right Back, with no dynamic variation. Hundred and Outta My Head offer the most prominent choruses, behind a simple backbeat.

With 17 songs and running at 59 minutes, this album is just overkill. Decent songs like the bluesy Bluffin’ or Twenty One get lost on the record. With a bit of quality control, this album could have had a lot more impact.

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