Pharrell Williams’ new single Freedom was released on the 1st of July in Australia, you may know it from a promotional video for Apple’s new streaming service. Although it’s been used as a promotional tool, it hasn’t gotten very far on any charts so far, which does not surprise me.
The song itself has a few groovy aspects to it, such as the swing beat on the hi-hat which gives the song a suave twenties feel, and the word play on the lyrics ‘freedom’ and ‘kingdom’. At first the piano and backup vocal riff is really catchy, but by the end of the first verse it gets extremely annoying. What the song really needed was more than one catchy riff, possibly adding a new one to the part where Pharrell yells ‘freedom’.
It’s not that I don’t like the freedom yelling, I think it’s a great addition to a song, but it would be so much more effective if it was saved for the last chorus. The whole song is extremely repetitive, stagnant and unmoving. For someone who is used to interesting harmonic progressions, climactic builds and changing rhythms, this song just becomes annoying.
For all its faults, the one thing you can’t fault about this track is Pharrell’s vocals, where he employs a distinctly smokey tone suiting the music beautifully. The guy has an uncanny knack for feeling out what is needed for the vocal parts, which comes from his songwriting and producing career. However, the repetitiveness of the song just can’t be overlooked so I have to give it a 4/10.