If you ever wondered what it would sound like if Macy Gray, Adele and Aretha Franklin had a three-way love-child and that love-child made music, you only need to grab yourself a copy of Rebecca Ferguson’s Freedom for a taste of what that would sound like.
Rebecca Ferguson rose to fame in 2010 when she became the runner-up to Matt Cardle in the UK X-Factor. Freedom is the follow-up to Ferguson’s 2011 debut album Heaven, and features 12 sincere and heartfelt tracks. Freedom is a feel-good album with a lot of soul and shows a lot of promise for a young woman set to become much more than “just another X-Factor contestant”.
The album begins with the optimistic and forgiving I Hope, an Adele-esque farewell to an ex-lover, wishing them well despite not being the best partner throughout their relationship (“After time I realised that for me to grow/I’ve got to let go…I hope life treats you well/I hope she treats you well”). The steady drum beats, catchy chorus (‘I hope/I hope/I hope…”) and Ferguson’s powerful voice make this one of the stand out tracks on the album, setting the standard high from the very start.
Fake Smile is another highlight on the album with a nostalgic and melancholy feel complemented by Ferguson’s smooth soulful voice (“Put on your fake smile and wipe away your real tears/What’s real anyway?”)
A familiar guest voice on this record appears on the track Bridges, featuring R&B icon John Legend. Legend and Ferguson combine to sing a rich ballad backed up by a soft orchestral instrumental background. The result is a simple and beautiful track showcasing the sincerity and talent of the two as their voices intertwine.
Hanging On is one of the more upbeat sounding tracks on Freedom – a sharp contrast to the more sombre sounding All That I’ve Got that it follows.
The theme of freedom and letting go is present throughout the whole album, and really peaks in the aptly titled My Freedom. The peppy-soul number is upbeat and inspiring as Ferguson declares her independence and freedom (“I can do anything… I want/Does it make you feel like you’re really someone/Does it make you feel like you can win some?/ You can’t take my freedom…out of my life”).
The album closes with the title track Freedom, a piano based ballad where Ferguson really allows her voice to shine, offering a captivating performance complete with a brief a Capella stint right at the end (“I am free/I am free/It’s the sound of peace”).
Freedom is a captivating collection of upbeat, soulful tracks which show a lot of promise and potential for the young English singer-songwriter both lyrically and musically. The record should impress old fans and earn her many new ones, especially off the release of the lead single I Hope.