Freeana – A Child’s Trust – Album Review
I hear what you’re up to over there Freeana…and I think it’s quite admirable.
There are millions of musicians, bands, and artists that create music daily…we all know that. But if you were to take that same number and ask them to answer honestly about just how many of them are truly making music for the benefit of others, that number would shrink to a figure so small you’d barely see it. Sure, sure…there’s many out there that will claim to make their music for you, while at the same time, more or less only ever writing about themselves & their own experiences – it becomes hard to take that sentiment as genuinely authentic without the several grains of salt required to swallow it down. Freeana’s expressive style of music is one of the first records where, when I listened to it, my first thoughts were about how much this album is for YOU – I’m not sure her own needs or wants are even a factor, other than she’s looking to inspire YOU…that’s going to be what makes this artist feel successful. It’s not about commercial hits or catchy hooks…A Child’s Trust is about speaking to the soul directly through music in a gentle, encouraging, and inspiring approach that wields imaginative, innovative & artistic ideas like the assets they truly can be. What Freeana’s doing is highly unique…extremely positive…and actually quite refreshing to listen to…you just don’t hear much like this out there & perhaps the world could benefit by turning a record like this up right now…and really listening to it.
The pleasant vibes begin quickly with the piano-led melody opening A Child’s Trust with “At The Moment” – which is kind of like the whole ‘seize the day’ or ‘be here now’ mantras in song form. I ain’t gonna lie to ya…it’s not typical in any sense…artistic & expressive, songs like “At The Moment” serve a much different purpose than just trying to convey a verse & chorus…there’s ambition and sentiment hard at work here, put forth confidently with the intention to inspire, help, & heal. That being said, the new-age & spiritual style is going to catch a few people off guard at first for sure…but like many things, once the objective & themes become clear, you’ll attune to the style of music & ideas Freeana creates. Right off the bat, she’s encouraging you to take a moment and reflect on all the little things that add up to your own achievements & happiness. As far as the music goes, “At The Moment” remained one of my favorite tunes to listen to each time it played…I think that piano melody is fantastic and I loved the way that the bass came along to really complement the vibe. There are moments where you can hear the transition between styles & sounds can lead to a slight hesitation from Freeana as she starts a new part, but it only ever takes a second for her to snap right back into the sound she’s searching for and singing it with confidence. She’s got a truly unique style that reflects her poetic approach and positive sentiments…it does take a second or two to comprehend what she’s going for as a listener – but once you’ve got the idea, everything becomes even more inviting as the mission becomes clearer.
Loving the musicianship in the instrumentation on “Everything About You Is Beautiful.” Some of the songs that Freeana’s got on this record will definitely conjure up theatrical & dramatic styles that you’ll often associate with material you might find in a musical…nothing wrong with that, in fact, that could definitely work out in her favor. Tough to find placement for music like hers out there in the mainstream – but art-houses, drama clubs, student films, soundtracks…there are a ton of options that could make use of her music and continue to further the artistic contribution she makes into other mediums. Starting with a beautiful spoken-word moment before taking on quite an ambitious melody for her vocals – I really felt like Freeana quickly comes into her own here on this second tune. A lot of that has to do with the fact that we’re more ready for the style of music she makes by this second song than the initial jolt of hearing her uniqueness for the first time on “At The Moment” – but I also felt like “Everything About You Is Beautiful” really came alive through the musicianship as well. Like that saxophone in the mix mid-song is a gorgeously bright & vibrant light in this tune…but even in the surrounding instrumentation like the synth parts, everything adds up to easygoing & positive vibes. Dig the organ and the increased presence that it has in the mix as the song plays on…and I really dig the heartfelt & expressive vibes that Freeana brings to the microphone throughout this tune as well. “Everything About You Is Beautiful” slips into quite the tight little jam session for a while in the middle of this song & definitely reaches for a sound that comfortably matches the implications of the title. It’s tender, it’s gentle, it’s ambitious, it’s kind…it’s a fantastic reminder of a truth that we indeed, all share.
If the whole soundtrack thing doesn’t work out, there’d be nothing wrong with approaching the marketing of this record by including it in the self-help section. Lyrically, Freeana is relentlessly positive – and if that isn’t a beautiful thing, I truly don’t know what is. I have a feeling that seeing the world through Freeana’s perspective would be the ride I’d sign up for if I was given the option. I really dig the shift in sound that “You Can Trust Yourself” makes from its initial sincere melodies into a seriously captivating moment led by the percussion. The hand drums sound fantastic, the recorder that joins in adds extra character to the music, and eventually you can hear the spirit of sound take over Freeana and set her free right into the atmosphere surrounding her. Lots of personality housed within this one idea; the song itself ends up having two major dimensions to its structure & sound – both of which come out sounding radiant. Radiantly sweet in the verse & chorus, radiantly moving in the instrumentation, empowering & charming through the lyrics, and quite adventurous in its flow from beginning to end. I gotta say…each time “You Can Trust Yourself” came on…like, I personally dig on the acoustic & synth-atmosphere combo that she’s got going on with the bass-lines…but I just kept coming back to marvel at the fact that, as far as my ears are concerned, there’s really only ONE Freeana, know what I mean? I don’t expect everyone to get it…’everyone’ doesn’t get all kinds of stuff out there when it comes right down to it – but those that do, I feel like they’ll totally appreciate the colorfully imaginative & highly expressive ways that she confidently tackles these artistically-inclined & innovative ideas she’s got. “You Can Trust Yourself” is like part lullaby, part tribal chant & celebration…quite the diverse mix in one song.
When she wants to play it more straight-ahead, she’s perfectly capable. “We All Need Our Days In The Sun” is a perfect example of Freeana heading towards a more recognizable song-structure that people would readily accept…fantastically smooth rhythm & groove on this tune with tons of character in the music. One of Freeana’s main instruments is actually an alto recorder – which for many people out there that have ever had to endure their neighbor’s kids practicing this for school for the first time trying to nail ‘hot crossed buns’ on repeat – sometimes just the very idea of that sound showing up can become a cringe-inducing moment & recalled memory…but it doesn’t have to be that way. I’d challenge that Freeana’s actually playing the recorder in ways you’ll love to hear it – I’m quite beyond impressed myself really. I’ve certainly heard it show up in other music throughout the years, but I’ll fully admit, it’s not usually all that welcome of a sound or something that’s played a significant role in furthering the songs I’d hear. “We All Need Our Days In The Sun” is a perfect example of when the recorder goes right; it’s definitely an asset in Freeana’s music, style, & sound. I can definitely recognize that the way she often structures her lyrics & vocal melodies will be a challenge for some…again, she plays this song more straightforward than some of the others by comparison, but the poetic nature of her words quite often dictates the guidelines. As in, if she feels like it’s the right word to convey the message she wants to communicate, then that’s the one she’s going with…rhyme-scheme isn’t the main driving force like it is for so many other artists, singers & songwriters out there; it makes her songs authentic to her own style for sure, but there are also challenges that will arise from that more artistic & avant-garde approach due to the fact that it’s not what people will typically expect to find in music. After listening to A Child’s Trust several times through, you’ll recognize the approach to lyrics as part of her own signature style…there’s value in that too. Can’t deny this rhythm & groove though…lots of great layers creating the sum total of this tune and equally cool ideas in the background vocals from Freeana on “We All Need Our Days In The Sun” – definitely a cut I’d consider as a single to put out there. It’s still anti-typical in countless ways to what you’ll normally find in the mainstream, but right on the fringe in a way that people will be able to latch onto quickly…and that’s all we’re every searching for, that gateway in.
“Images Of Peace” supplies what the title implies as Freeana details many scenes that would be bound to bring a smile to your day. I think she sings this tune quite well…she really has throughout the majority of this record…I’ll admit, it’s tougher to judge when it’s such a different style of sound than we all normally experience. I have my moments where I feel like she’s above where she needs to be in the mix or a few tones here & there that could have been a bit more rounded-out…but quite often it’s the organic element & sound of Freeana’s voice that is part of the allure & charm. I really like the synth-piano melody she’s using on this song and the like…otherworldly atmosphere it seems to come with; not spaced-out, but out in space…know what I mean? There’s a distance here in the music and recording that I really enjoyed, especially in those instrumental moments surrounding where you really get to hear that synth-piano melody, bass-lines, and recorder interact together. I really liked Freeana’s performance on this cut as well, in addition to the direction of the entire concept – I just again, keep coming back to the fact that there’s no one out there I can think of doing what she’s doing on this record. “Images Of Peace” is unapologetically sweet and full of lyrics that reflect the title’s sentiment. It’s a highly focused tune that never wavers from its ambitions of shining a bright light on some of the most beautiful scenes & imagery our world has to offer…when you hear how she’s written the lyrics of this song you’ll recognize that gift she has for being able to communicate her thoughts, feelings, and emotions through her music. On “Images Of Peace,” it’s almost a list of the things she’s grateful for – or perhaps it goes even deeper than that…perhaps it’s a list of things that we ALL should be grateful for.
As to whether or not the people out there will ‘get this’ or connect with it…that’s gonna be quite an individual thing; for some, they’ll readily accept her positivity for the uplifting & inspiring messages she sends out into the universe through her music…for others, those enduring themes might prove more difficult. On songs like “Love Finds A Way” – my first thought was actually about how the fourteen year-old me wouldn’t have even listened…I wasn’t ready for many different styles of music outside of the mainstream and was basically rejecting any positivity of any kind…I have no illusions that the music of Freeana will resonate strongly with some and not with others – and I’ve learned that’s more than ok. There are more than enough people out there that will benefit from Freeana’s words & music to make the effort worthwhile…and again, I’d argue that she likely doesn’t feel like this is any effort at all; it certainly takes skill and insight to create, but as far as making it goes, you can tell this is all a joy for her. Another really magical transition in sound on “Love Finds A Way” – I really liked how this song eventually found its way to a smoother, more melodically-inclined second-half…it’s quite beautiful how this tune transforms. Love the recorder, gentle synth melody & acoustic guitar combination that takes us gently through the middle of “Love Finds A Way” as well; I wasn’t quite sure about the over-enthusiastic celebration of love that starts the song, but the second-half of this tune really hit the mark. Excellent harmonies, powerful imagery and details in the words, clever structure overall…”Love Finds A Way” has a lot of facets to its expressive sound, even changing up one final time for just a couple seconds right before it’s over.
Songs like “Picture Yourself” do a lot to highlight that artistic expression & poetic nature of Freeana’s music – but also the multiple dimensions that her experimental/new-age sound can offer. There are tons of moments that have a lively bounce to the bass-lines and genuine rhythm, lots of moments where the melody takes a more decidedly dreamy turn or theatrical approach – even jazzy spots where you can really feel that rhythm or groove take over, like she’ll do again on the final track “My Child.” When it comes to “Picture Yourself,” you can hear that positivity of Freeana’s lyrical style breakthrough clearly once again…perhaps a bit more playful in her approach and imagery on this tune. As to whether or not everyone’s coming along with her to imagine themselves as a tree or not, as she suggests in the lyrics, it’s harder to say…I’d be willing to assume that if you’ve made it this deep into the record that you’re willing to “Picture Yourself” like this as well and continue to follow her lead. As inspiring as the words are at all times on A Child’s Trust – it would also actually make for pretty heavy content were the music all to remain in a serious style…so in that sense, I think Freeana’s made a good choice by letting a bit looser on “Picture Yourself” and being just as playful as she is melodic at times throughout the song. That being said, there’s an adventurous thread of captivating sound that surrounds the happier vibes of “Picture Yourself” that serve the lyricism perfectly by digging a bit deeper to match the power behind the words and present the right emotions in the music to go with it all. Loved the recorder solo on this cut…again, I’ve really marveled at just how welcome that instrument has become to my ears via Freeana’s music…it’s really not a sound I ever would have expected to enjoy as much as I have here.
The added ambience of water flowing through “My Child” was a smart move, especially considering the lyricism surrounding the waves we hear gently coming to the surface at the beginning of the song. Freeana writes with structure in mind…and I appreciate that as a listener; she’s always making room for instrumentation and musicianship to stand out and really knows how to make a journey from point-A to point-B interesting to listen to. As non-typical as her music may be – I can vouch for the fact that I’ve never once felt bored…and I’d assume that’s largely due to the fact that she creates powerful ideas and moments that could stand their ground on their own. As in, she writes a solid verse, a solid chorus, includes skilled musicianship in solos & breakdowns, and understands when to bring back the idea or alluring hooks to establish that memorable impact…it’s artistic, it’s expressive, it’s not what you’d normally hear coming through your speakers – but it’s undeniably put together with thought & heart. In many ways, “My Child” is even more gentle & mild than many of the songs we’ve experienced already – and don’t get me wrong, Freeana hasn’t exactly been rockin’ out thus far, know what I mean? She’s dialed-back the energy even further here to end the album on really subtle, warm, & soothing vibes, allowing you to exit the experience gracefully and amongst the beautiful imagery & light crashing of waves sending you back to your dreams, refreshed, empowered & inspired with the positive energy & messages that Freeana has included throughout this entire album. The world needs more Freeanas out there…especially right now…and hopefully, her music and messages will inspire a few more to exist.
Find out more about Freeana at her official website at: http://freeana.com