Free Yourself


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Bob Smithouser
Rhonda Handlon

Album Review

Pro-Social Content

The singer cuts loose a cad (“Ain’t Gonna Beg”) and refuses to play second fiddle to a man’s selfish, streetwise lifestyle (“Got Me Waiting”). She claims victory over ghetto life with God’s help on “This Is Me,” a song about chasing after dreams without forgetting our roots. A line on “Summertime” assures a child of parental protection. “Baby Mama” applauds the efforts of young single mothers (“I see ya payin’ ya bills/ I see ya workin’ ya job/I see ya goin’ to school/And girl I know it’s so hard”). “I Believe” promotes hope and love, seeing God’s hand in the fulfillment of dreams. However …

Objectionable Content

Faith in oneself seems to be the most critical component of success (“I believe in the impossible if I reach deep within my heart”). Mild profanities mar “Baby Mama” and “It’s All Good.” Guest Missy Elliott threatens to pummel rivals for her man’s affection on “Selfish.” Fantasia offers a man “Good Lovin’” in a way no other woman gives him pleasure, suggesting intimacy outside of marriage. After a romantic gamble fails to pay off she reduces dissonance by denying the significance of giving herself away cheap (“It’s All Good”). The CD cover shows cleavage.

Summary Advisory

This American Idol winner doesn’t commit major lyrical gaffes, but problems exist. Even songs about overcoming a moral miscue seem to soft-sell the mistake. Something to consider before giving Free Yourself a spin.

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Bob Smithouser
Rhonda Handlon