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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at TCNJ chapter.

You can tell right away that Khalid’s new album Free Spirit is going to have a very different type of energy in contrast to his first album, American Teen. Despite its discussion of anxiety and depression, and how they lead to this hard to shake spiral, it still kept a positive spin on the subject. It sometimes made the listener unaware of those hardships because the sound was so likable and enchanting. That’s what becoming an adult feels like. You are aware of your feelings and what they can do to you, but you’re also so excited about the future that you might not notice or just straight up ignore it.


Khalid’s sophomore album, Free Spirit wastes no time in getting straight into the difficulties of mental illness and all of his doubts and worries about himself and his relationships. While he does concern himself with these issues, he does continuously try to find a positive outlook on what is happening in his life. Throughout the album, you can hear his struggles between wanting to be enough for himself and handle his own because sometimes you can’t count on people because many of them just use you for their own gain. He is painfully aware that he needs the help.


Free Spirit is the perfect album because of it’s cold and hard reality that, well, the real world kind of sucks, especially while carrying fame with you.


After listening to the album a couple of times, I have chosen my favorite tracks and lyrics. I’ll be honest, this was a very difficult task because during each song I kept saying “holy shit same”, or “oh my god that’s such a good line, hold on”. I promise you, most, if not all of Khalid’s music will end up in your summer playlists.


“Intro”: My very first thought during the 5 seconds when the song began was “this sounds like the beginning of a song from a Disney film”. The intro wastes no time in letting the listener know that Khalid is struggling with wanting to be self-sufficient but also knowing he really wants to reach out to someone. As a freshman in college, this felt very familiar because most days I feel like if I do ask for help, I’m failing myself. However, I know that getting help is beneficial to me.

Favorite lyric: “Can’t even live with being by myself / That’s the part of me that really needs your help.”


“My Bad”: This song is about the miscommunication with his lover. Trying to fix the difficulties between them becoming an exhausting feat is something I can understand. People clash all the time and sometimes letting go might be better than wasting energy in a never-ending cycle of miscommunication. The chorus is wonderful and I will be yelling it all summer, thank you very much, Khalid.

Favorite lyric: “you’re following the signs / but you’re following the wrong signs, my love.”


“Self”: The 14th track of the album focuses on Khalid’s anxiety and the fear of not being able to handle failure well. What I really enjoy about this track is that it’s like he is talking to himself, and to his anxiety. He is stating that he is genuinely afraid of failing and that he wants to be able to recognize this fear so he can become a better version of himself. He addresses self-reflection in the song itself, which is something that is a struggle for me because when I do self-reflect, it comes off in a very negative light and it makes me feel worse than I did before. This song is very much about being aware of what is happening to you but also being terrified of it.

Favorite lyric: “I don’t need another hand, I need a couple suggestions / Always had a little trouble with self-reflections”


“Heaven”: The second to last track really hit home for me. One thing that is always a struggle for me personally is my own faith. God is something I believe in, even if it’s not a constant, it’s there when I’m at my worst. When I heard this song I felt a familiar exhaustion that I’ve felt earlier in the semester and that comes back in waves. I couldn’t tell who he exactly is addressing in this song in particular, but I’m under the assumption he is talking to himself. That same theme of battling between wanting to continue to try and find that positive outlook but also being absolutely tired of trying is shown in this song.

Favorite lyric: “My name sounds like a song / That you’ve been singing all along / Don’t forget it once I’m gone”


“Saturday Nights”: What I would do to have someone looking out for me when my parents didn’t? I remember hearing this song when the EP came out back in October and wishing I had someone like Khalid but also thinking about how different I would feel if I did have someone there with me while going through it. Would it make that much of a difference? Or would I still feel the same? “Saturday Nights” just made me imagine how different things would be if there was someone there who cared more.

Favorite lyric: “I guess there’s certain dreams that you gotta keep / ‘Cause they’ll only know what you let ’em see”

Free Spirit is honest, ambitious, reflective and has the perfect summer songs. Khalid tells the world what he’s going through, unashamed. I honestly couldn’t be more proud to listen to such an amazing artist and I can’t wait to hear some of these songs live this summer.

A writer who's always in a crisis and probably eating fries.
Maddi is the current President and Campus Correspondent for HCTCNJ. She is a senior journalism student at The College of New Jersey who loves pugs, napping, and all things food.