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Beats Per Millennium - Akon: Freedom

Akon: Freedom

As the third release since Akon’s appearance on the music scene in 2004, Freedom is yet another album with many songs suitable for the club scene. “Right Now (Na Na Na),” Akon’s most recent hit single, has an ideal club beat and rhythm that makes everyone want to step out on the dance floor. The second track, “Beautiful,” is also a given club beat that lacks any sentimental meaning behind the lyrics. And at least half of the album undoubtedly follows the footsteps of these two songs. But Freedom, believe it or not, is actually a much different album than his recent Trouble and Konvicted. Here Akon is showing his audience that there is much more to this seemingly pimp artist than social events and one night stands.

Let’s admit a minute detail about Akon right now; the ex-con is truly a romantic at heart. Throw away the cash wads, stunner shades and women dressed in less than nothing and here you have someone who ultimately hopes for heartbreak to end in his life. “Be With You” is a sweet and promising surrender of his wanting to be with a woman. “Birthmark” is reminiscent of a love once so true that Akon wishes could belong to him all over again. I particularly enjoy these slower love songs that have yet to be popular by demand than the songs that are all over the radio. But even those dance/pop club jammers are about some sort of lost love or one he only wishes he could have.

We may not realize the R&B artist’s love and heartbreak lyrics so much because they are put behind relatively similar beats every time. Akon should try working with other producers to create a unique and dissimilar sound for his nightclub songs instead of releasing constant reggae/techno beats. That way, fans may be able to distinguish his songs in other ways than by the times in which they were released.

Freedom is on the fence as to whether or not it should mean something to fans. I mean, yeah, he has songs to which people can relate (mainly the romantic ones), but the tracks with undeniable hooks for booty-shakers are insipid. They show no lyrical talent and are merely hanging on because it’s Akon. People want to hear him every 30 minutes on the radio (I don’t understand why), and it may even be him as a feature on another artist’s song. Although his voice is, in certain songs, Auto Tuned and nasally, it is also impressively high-pitched and smooth. In that case, I will be on the lookout for his first song that doesn’t sound like a whine or cry for help.

We catch more of the persona Akon has taught us to believe controls his life in “Troublemaker,” featuring Sweet Rush. “I’m the type of guy that will save ya / I’m that type that will call you later / Won’t be around to give you that time / Gotta get on the grind and get to that paper.” This type of character is also seen in the hit single “I’m So Paid,” featuring Lil Wayne and Young Jeezy. But in his featherlike-reggae beat, “Sunny Day,” Akon sings about his rise above the ghetto lifestyle with the help of the pensive raps by Wyclef Jean. Now that illustrates the true, now more mature Akon he has grown to be since his first album, Trouble.

So what about the title of this album? Why Freedom? Since his recent troubles with an under-aged female in a club and allegedly tossing a fan offstage at a concert, Akon is now at a point in his life where he could possibly start a new chapter and promote himself in a more positive light. In the last track, “Freedom,” he sings, “Everything I have, everything I own / All my mistakes man, you already know / I wanna be free, I wanna be free / So I search to find my.. / Freedom.” Freedom is Akon’s first album that was released without the Parental Advisory sticker, and although there is still a bit of profanity, this is another example of him wanting more for himself and his music career. Now the only way to see if he upholds his ostensibly new lifestyle is to await his fourth album.

Mika Tatich

Posted by Mike Denslow at Jan 04, 2009 09:06 PM


great job mika

dylan · Jan 7, 10:29 AM · #

this sme

vicson · Apr 29, 04:46 PM · #

i like your songs very much but i dont get them plese healp me

vijay · Sep 1, 07:00 AM · #

I am the women Akon left in Seattle to move to California. I am very proud of you Akon and I love ur music.

christine bleakney · Sep 5, 06:14 AM · #