Emergingfrom the speakers in the warmest of ways a summer beat can, the first couple of seconds we hear in the new single “Freedom” by Kristen Capolino essentially summarize the mood of the song in its entirety. There’s a playfulness to this performance that exists with or without the seductive voice at the center of the master mix, but with her ruling over the rhythm both lyrically and melodically, it’s impossible to escape the good vibes that the harmony this song is built on creates. I had never heard of Capolino or “Freedom” just a week ago, but inside of this track’s red, white, and blue-filtered running time, she makes it hard for me to say I don’t want more of what she’s serving up in the studio.

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The instrumental portions of this single are just what they should be – segues from one stanza to the next, but they aren’t starkly removed from the depth of the narrative. Contrarily, I would say that their efficient bridging of one lyrical body to the next is what ensures the flow of the music and, in turn, the facilitation of the patriotic story Capolino wants to tell. Filler is an enemy of the pop/oc recording artist, and if she didn’t already know this on her own, she was made aware before she ever set foot in the booth to lay down the vocal or any other part of “Freedom” in 2023. Bells and whistles are for players who don’t have anything going on, criteria which she most definitely does not meet.

I will say that I think Capolino probably could have got a little more out of this vocal had she gone into the chorus with less of a fiery demeanor than she does here, but I’m also not convinced her attitude at the fever pitch of “Freedom” does more harm than good. Her excitement in this performance is part of what swept me off my feet when I sat down with the song over the weekend, and though it makes it difficult to tell how much more she might have been able to squeeze out of the melody in this track, it’s also telling of what she could potentially bring out on stage with her in a live show.

In “Freedom,” Kristen Capolino’s emotions aren’t limited to the lyrical content she fashions over every leering beat; they’re found in every facet of the music, bombarding us with a likeability that has made me wonder how long it’s going to be before this songstress’ moniker reaches the primetime. For the majority of this recording, she sounds like she’s already won over the core audience she wants to impress and is ready to embark on a victory tour, and so long as she lets this confidence drive her forward as opposed to introducing negative arrogances into her sound, this will be only the first of many hits she scores. “Freedom” set the bar pretty high, and I can’t wait to see her try and outdo its success in her next release.

Garth Thomas