free spirit

Stars: 5/5

Khalid returned to the music scene with his brand-new hit album “Free Spirit” and made his debut as a producer for his short film for the project.

Two days before the album’s official release, Khalid had a one-night-only premiere event to show the short film he created along with Emil Nava, who also directed the project. The exclusive event also included commentary from Khalid, Nava and the other actors.

Going in, I didn’t know what to expect, but the short film absolutely blew me away. The cinematography was stunning, and the creative vision of the project was genius.

The short film featured Khalid and his real friends along with actors who they eventually all became friends with as well. In the film, the friends take a road trip while trying to find out who they are.

Throughout the film, the journey of life and how everyone has a different path was explored. The film also discussed real issues like addiction, abuse and emotional trauma. Throughout the trip, the group learned that in the end, they get to define who they are, and once they realize who that is, then they’ll truly be free.

Along with being heartfelt and thought-provoking, the film was absolutely hilarious. As a viewer, you felt like you were there experiencing life with these characters and you were a part of the friend group.

That friend group included Jahking Guillory, the star of the 2016 hit “Kicks,” who appeared in Netflix’s “On My Block.” He stole the show with his organic sense of humor and jokes. Dizzy Fae starred in the short film as well, with everyone falling in love with her on and off the screen.

Judah Lang from “Skate Kitchen” finished off the love triangle while starring alongside Guillory and Fae. Along with Khalid, of course, the film also featured Edi Gathegi from the “Twilight” and “X-Men" series and Estefania Preciado.

A couple of songs from the album created the soundtrack for the short film and fit the vibe perfectly. Honestly, both the film and the album could have stood alone, but they fit together so perfectly. The film made the songs come alive and the album feel even more special.

For the fans, the night was a really special way for all of us to come together and celebrate the new album. The whole experience made the album release even better and made you appreciate each song more. Khalid was so genuine and kind as well, it made you love him even more and you left feeling hopeful and ready to live life to the fullest, as free as possible.

After the short film, fans got to hear the full-length album for the very first time before it was released. There were amazing visuals and previously released music videos shown along with each song, as well as commentary given by Khalid for each track.

Starting off, the intro sounds like it belongs in a movie trailer. It also is a preview of the themes of self-growth and love that is discussed throughout the album.

The album offers one hit after the other, with “My Bad” about beginning to become distant with a love interest, “Better” about a friendship turning into a relationship, “Talk” a certified dancy bop and “Right Back,” which features a fun and retro beat.

Throughout the album, we get some nice chill songs like “Don’t Pretend” featuring SAFE. We also get “Hundred,” which is one of my favorites about getting through the day even with all the struggles of life, and “Outta My Head” featuring John Mayer, which has another retro kind of funky beat.

We then have the self-titled song of the album “Free Spirit,” which is another one my favorites bringing the themes of the album to life. “Twenty One” is a follow up from Khalid’s hit song “8TEEN” about getting through life even through all the pain and struggles that it brings.

The album ends on a strong note with ”Self," a self-reflection, and “Alive,” which discusses life and death, truly living life not just going through the motions and telling your loved ones how you feel in the time you can. Finally, “Heaven” ends the album with its emotional and beautiful melody and lyrical imagery.

Previously released track “Saturday Nights” is a bonus track on the album and is one of the more dance-able bops and a fan-favorite.

I think collectively the fans weren't sure if Khalid could top “American Teen,” but with releasing a short film with only his sophomore album, which contains some of his best songs yet, it’s safe to say he did just that.

You can view the short film on Apple Music, and you can listen to Khalid’s sophomore album “Free Spirit” on Apple Music or any other streaming service.

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