Music’s hardest working polymath has teamed up with the newly launched ‘Apple Music’ to unveil his brand new single Freedom. The multi-talented, multi-faceted Pharrell Williams, who can count producing, composing, drumming, and singing, as well as fashion designing, environmental campaigning and record label owning among his arsenal of artistic talents, has been huge figure of the promotion of Apple’s brand new music streaming service. The curated Internet radio station Beats 1 Radio, headed by Zane Lowe, is a major part of the platform, premiering tracks from major acts across the globe, of which William’s Freedom was one of the first and most highly anticipated.
Williams is no stranger to penning infectious tracks and collaborations. From Miley Cyrus and Justin Timberlake, to Nelly and Daft Punk, many of his most successful endeavours have become contemporary pop standards. Truly one of the world’s most well rounded music stars, Williams can also add collaborating with world-renowned film composer Hans Zimmer to his extensive resume. Although it doesn’t inspire the same carefree jubilation of the international sensation Happy, Freedom still exists in that sphere of effortless musical catchiness. The track explores a very specific brand of elation, elicited by a social and moral unification and liberation. This coming together is musically represented by abundant call-and-response, set to an effective backing of piano ostinato and uncomplicated percussion, made up in part by vocal utterances, and punctuated by unwavering horns.
Freedom lies somewhere between the church pulpit and the secular caucus. It is ferocious and infectious at once, heightened by a sense of urgency that is driven by simple, but powerful, use of repetition. William’s distinct blend of funk, pop and soul is complemented by an overwhelming charisma and conviction. Interestingly, the song doesn’t make use of his phenomenal falsetto, instead offerning gentler intonations in the verse before unleashing a revolutionary howl in the chorus’ call to action.
Musically, Freedom radiates with Pharrell’s chart topping genius. It is the track’s socially aware premise, both empowering and thought provoking, that could see the song become a real representation of the political and social mood of this time: a dichotomous era that has seen one group of people finally granted equal marriage rights one day, and another ravaged by systemic violence and war the next.