Khalid’s “Free Spirit” is full of vibes


“Free Spirit” album cover. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Melissa Lim, Contributing Writer

On April 5, Khalid released his second album  “Free Spirit,” reflecting on the qualms of being 21 and successful.

All of his songs are about love, but nothing too deep or personal. What makes Khalid’s music a selling point is that he’s not trying to be like other artists in his generation. His music is contemporary R&B, which is what I feel like made me want to listen to him. It’s mixed with pop, soul, hip hop and electronic music. All of his songs are different. They’re not all about the same thing, not all of the beats sound the same and all of them are unique.

Immediately after I heard Khalid was coming out with another album, I was beyond excited. I haven’t stopped listening to it since its release.

His album cover is Khalid standing on a van with his arms out in a stranded desert. It made an impact and definitely caught my eye. It goes perfectly with all the songs and the vibe he tries to get across.

Khalid’s melodies fit over any instrument they touch, whether that be an acoustic guitar-heavy ballad like “Saturday Nights” or a track like “Talk,” with bubbly dance instrumentals.

Although some of his lyrics were dull, the saving grace of the album, “Free Spirit” (a song of the same name of album) takes away from the high-budget production showcase. It’s the song that plays while on a roadtrip with your best friends, begging to live in the moment. His lyrics tell tales of in-betweenness too, with a doubt of love and life that blurs into burnout. “I feel like there’s nothing for me here,” he sings. “But still I try.” It’s a hopeful tune reminding anyone that despite the difficulties that come along with growing up, pausing and simply letting go can be beautiful.

Khalid also includes a vibey, lazy summer tune, “Paradise,” that seems appropriate to blast while walking down the boardwalk of your favorite beach.

Carefree tunes like “Right Back” and “Better” are reminders that Khalid can still crush happy radio fare when he wants, but he’s looking at the bigger picture now, as “Free Spirit’s” depth and expansive range goes throughout all 17 songs.

All of his songs blended perfectly into one album. A lot of them had different types of beats to the song which changed the whole vibe to it.

Sometimes when I listen to his songs, like “Hundred”, I listen to the beats, such as drums, snapping and guitar, more than I listen to the lyrics. His beats consume some of his lyrics which is something that should be focused more on.

The album ends with “Saturday Nights,” a lullaby for the ones who feel alone. “I care, care about you. There’s nowhere I’d rather be.” It closes the album out on a hopeful note, promising that there is always someone who cares.

“Free Spirit” is a compilation of love, self-reflection of knowing who you really are and the exploration of freedom. This album serves as a reminder for its listeners to take a moment, reflect and let go. Yet, no matter how diverse the album is in sound and guests, the output is always the same Khalid.  

Khalid’s honest lyrics and his beats and melodies to accompany the album are proof that he’s not only on a quest to find himself but also that he’s out to improve himself and unwilling to repeat himself. “Free Spirit” does the work of a good sophomore album: It builds on what came before it and opens up new avenues for the artist to pursue in the future. As “Free Spirit” unfolds, its title feels like less of a proclamation and more of a mission statement. This guy’s headed as far as the open road can take him.