Music Review: Freedom by Pharrell Williams


Let's do music today. First things first, Pharrell Williams is hot. Now that that is over with, onward to less important things; a review of his new music, "Freedom." I cannot get enough of it...at least for now. "Happy" introduced me to Williams. Prior to that song I cannot recall knowing of him. The dude is smart. I thought "Happy," might have been a coincidence but now I know it is not. He knows his audience and serves them well by delivering melodic chants of the things we all desire and strive for. Who does not want to be happy or free? See, dude is cool and that is why his new song is on reeeeepeat!

The lyrics are beautifully spiked with poetry. I have copied the whole thing for you below.  As mentioned above, the song has been on repeat and as I was being swayed by the wonderful beats and chants of "Freedom,"––head nodding and bobbing; hands shooting into the air; feet tapping tapping tapping away––I could not help but wonder what freedom meant. I define freedom as a state of absolute self-sustainance and control. Freedom is to exist without needing or being needed. To want nothing. It means a good book would not have any hold on me, and therefore I can stop reading at any time without hesitation. It means I will not need to empty myself of liquid or food nor would I need to eat or drink or breathe. I will just be. My idea of freedom is a bit out there with utopia––a customized utopia. According to the dictionary, however, freedom is "the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint." All there is in this definition is what I consider the rights of life. Natural rights of being. But it is obvious that some take over these rights and distribute them as they see fit. It is like, not knowing that once, everyone breathed oxygen for free, your idea of freedom becomes not having to pay for oxygen. Maybe my definition is crazy but I think the dictionary's definition is limiting. Unless to think ourselves deserving of human rights is to be entitled.

Okay, let's get to the lyrics. The first two lines of the the song, "Hold on to me / Don't let me go" does not agree with my definition. But worry not, this review is not based on my definition. In the first two lines is the sense of connection, the idea of "two becoming one," another belief I do not subscribe to, but do understand and appreciate. I actually do believe that we are all connected, just not one. To be one is to be without individuality, but maybe it is a metaphor and I am taking things too literally. Back to the lines: they allure to a basic definition of life––to serve and to be served. Yes, it is possible that I am overanalyzing and overthinking these lyrics. But that this possibility exists in a catchy R&B song is what makes "Freedom" refreshing. In being there for others, we are arranging for others to be there for us, should we need them. Because we are not self-sustained we need others and others need us. Therefore, when we are the stronger ones we should say "hold on to me" and when we are the weaker ones we say "don't let me go." A beautiful cycle of need.

I totally appreciate the lines, "We choose to believe / In where we're from" because it is a beautiful paradox. I do not believe we have answered that question yet: Where are we from? No one knows.  And yet I love the lines because I read it as a good definition of faith. To choose to believe in that which we do not know is to have faith. For instance, I believe in God, even though many sensible and very intelligent beings tell me it is silly to do so.  But I have the ability to choose what to believe in and I choose God. To believe is to make a choice. But if  we take things down a notch and say maybe we come from our parents, we must admit that it is not really a choice. When we pop out of our mothers, we have no choice. The choices belong to our parents. Belief is something we learn and our parents, or those who raise us, become the first people we practice the emotion with. But what about our homes? When people say do not forget where you come from, I think of my beginnings, and my home or hometown is center.  So perhaps it is to this that Williams alludes. But again we do not choose our homes or environments. We are born into them and they nurture us. Later in life we may choose other homes, but this choice is influenced by our first experiences, and therefore, the ability to choose is controlled by that first choice we never made.

The lines "Man's red flower / It's in every living thing" is poetry. A beautiful imagery of connection which becomes more sensational after reading the lines "We are from heat." Heat here can mean the sun, but it is likely a pun for sex, or lovemaking, or love because that line is immediately followed by, "the electric one." I love the minimal use of words and play on language to suggest more. It is becoming obvious to me that simplicity conveys beauty that appeals to a wider group because it makes room for us to bring to it our own understanding and interpretations. The other poetic lines are:

When a baby first breathes
When night sees sunrise
When the whale hunts in the sea
When man recognizes

These are examples of the big miracles that we think of as little miracles because they happen so often, we cannot help but take them for granted. Some of us cannot see how extraordinary a baby's first breath is, or seeing the moon in the awnings of sunrise. Changing "see" to sea in the second line, the imagery remains sublime, but it reverts to a play on water and a more exciting circle of reflection––the death of an old night and the birth of a new day. The recognition of these things as elements of extreme beauty and magic is freedom, in the sense of awareness. We are part of the incredible phenomenon that is life. We belong here, we are wanted here, we are home here...until we are not.

Last thing before I leave this song alone. Would you say the lyrics of "Freedom" have references to Christianity? What do you make of the lines: "He left us the sun" where sun is a very easy pun for son, which is a good reference to Christ. What makes the tie to Christianity even more probable are the final lines (before the repetition of freedom), "The son and, yes, man / Are made of the same things." He could have repeated "the sun," but chose "the son" instead! This does not ruin the song for me. It took a minute but I made the choice to believe in Christ, and I am okay with anyone making positive references to God and and son in their music. Well that is it. Lyrics below, video above. If you care to share your thoughts, I am all "eyes." Thanks for reading and cheers!

Freedom by Pharrell Williams

[Verse 1]
Hold on to me
Don't let me go
Who cares what they see?
Who cares what they know?
Your first name is Free
Last name is Dom
We choose to believe
In where we're from

[Chorus]
Man's red flower
It's in every living thing
Mind, use your power
Spirit, use your wings
Freedom!
Freedom!
Freedom!
Freedom
Freedom
Freedom

[Verse 2]
Hold on to me
Don't let me go
Cheetahs need to eat
Run, antelope
Your first name is King
Last name is Dom
Cause you still believe
In everyone

[Chorus]
When a baby first breathes
When night sees sunrise
When the whale hunts in the sea
When man recognizes
Freedom!
Freedom!
Freedom!
Freedom
Freedom
Breathe in
[Verse 3]
We are from heat
The electric one
Does it shock you to see
He left us the sun?
Atoms in the air
Organisms in the sea
The son and, yes, man
Are made of the same things

[Outro]
Freedom!
Freedom!
Freedom!
Freedom
Freedom
Freedom
Freedom
Freedom


-
^_^
Jane



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