Not many artists today can successfully execute the art of album making. Certainly, there are artists that make every song a work of art but when they compile 11 of them and call it an album, it doesn’t necessarily meet the definition of what an album should be.
I consider an album to be an experience. An album should transport the listener alongside the artist, taking them to the place where the inspiration for the lyrics was born.
Donnel Robinson is a master of album execution.
His latest masterpiece, “Free Spirit,” was a long time coming. After the release of “American Teen” in 2017 and a seven-song EP, “Suncity” in late 2018, expectations were high. From the “Intro” track of “Free Spirit” to the ending track, “Saturday Nights,” Khalid takes listeners on a journey. Through lyrical navigation and melodic roads, fans find themselves lost in the smooth riffs and raw feel to his voice once again.
Tracks like “Heaven” and “Alive,” boast simple beats that allow for the versatility of Khalid’s voice to shine. High notes are executed flawlessly and are received delicately by the ear; the sound is tender and as soft as silk. Khalid revisits tempo-driven beats like that of “Location” from “American Teen” on the album’s eighth track, “Paradise,” where listeners can get lost in the funky-feel of the tune that brings the song to life, ultimately taking fans to an audible “paradise.”
“Outta My Head,” a notable track featuring a collaboration with John Mayer, is one of those feel-good songs that make for the perfect drive home from the beach with the windows down on a summer day. The catchy hook makes this track one that you will find yourself humming for days on end.
Songs like “Right Back” allow the listener to picture themselves in the concert stands. The upbeat track makes it impossible not to groove to, and the energy will translate well to a live audience as Khalid takes the stage at Madison Square Garden later this summer on his “Free Spirit” tour.
Fans of Khalid can hear the subtle changes in sound as he releases more projects but “Free Spirit” seems to be a step in the right direction as he embarks on the journey to find himself as an artist and as Khalid Donnel Robinson himself. In fact, the namesake track reveals that is exactly what Khalid is – a free spirit, “loving more, living less.”