Free Yourself

Free Yourself

4.6 46
by Fantasia
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Third-season American Idol winner Fantasia Barrino wowed both the series' fans and jaded judges with her gospel-rooted vocal histrionics. But like previous AI winners Kelly and Ruben, Fantasia -- clearly the most charismatic of the three -- has a hard time translating her infectious stage presence onto her debut disc (surprisingly, even her showstopping

Overview

Third-season American Idol winner Fantasia Barrino wowed both the series' fans and jaded judges with her gospel-rooted vocal histrionics. But like previous AI winners Kelly and Ruben, Fantasia -- clearly the most charismatic of the three -- has a hard time translating her infectious stage presence onto her debut disc (surprisingly, even her showstopping rendition of the Gershwins' "Summertime" falls flat here). That said, Free Yourself is still more polished than any other Idol's first record, thanks to urban hitmakers Missy Elliott, Jermaine Dupri, and Rodney Jerkins. Although Fantasia's nasal timbre often recalls Macy Gray, her vocal range is far superior to Gray's; a more accurate comparison might be made to Mary J. Blige, most notably on the Missy-assisted "Good Lovin'." Like Blige, Fantasia is a round-the-way girl with a voice informed by adversity, and she makes sure listeners are aware of just how much she's struggled -- from growing up in the ghetto (the Brandy-reminiscent "This Is Me") to dealing with triflin' beaus (the kiss-off title track) and unrequited love ("Truth Is"). The album's biggest misstep (other than misprinted track listings), however, is Fantasia's loud-and-proud proclamation of being a "Baby Mama." Still, there's enough good material here for Fantasia's fans to fawn over, and plenty of promise for a career to be revered.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
"Love you Clive Davis, thanks for being so gangsta!" So says Fantasia Barrino -- now simply billed as "Fantasia" since divas are, by law, not allowed to have more than one name -- in the liner notes for her 2004 debut album, Free Yourself. This indicates both Barrino's relative naïveté and the nature of Free Yourself itself. Fantasia was the winner of the third American Idol competition in 2004, and while Clive Davis has shepherded all of the previous AmIdol winners and runner-ups, it's possible that Barrino had spent so little time in the music biz that she didn't grasp the depths of either Davis' legacy or his savvy, the latter of which was clearly on display on each AmIdol record. Under Davis' direction, Kelly Clarkson, Justin Guarini, Ruben Studdard, and Clay Aiken all made records tailored for a specific audience, which is the reason they all had great success (well, with one notable exception), so it should come as no surprise that Davis has steered Barrino straight to the streets to make an album that thrives on urban R&B inflections and style. Free Yourself is looser and hipper than any previous AmIdol album. Gone is Matthew Wilder, who contributed to Kelly's debut; gone are Neil Sedaka and Aldo Nova, who featured heavily on Clay's album. In their place are Missy Elliott, Jermaine Dupri, and Rodney Jerkins, hip-hop hitmakers who give a good indication that this album is striving to seem fresh and hip, something that no other American Idol album has even attempted. Of course, the show-biz trappings haven't been completely abandoned -- Fantasia's showstopping rendition of Gershwin's "Summertime" has been revived, and it's been given an overwrought treatment that's slicker and more mannered than either of her performances of it on the show. And that reveals Fantasia's biggest weakness, which is part of the inherent flaw of American Idol: it rewards contestants who put on a show of being a great singer instead of actually being a great singer. Of all the third-season contestants, Barrino trumped all her competitors in terms of sheer dramatics and histrionics, and that made her more memorable than equally talented singers such as Latoya London. While Fantasia's Macy Gray-meets-Mary J. Blige-and-goes-Broadway voice may have made for great television, where it sounded unique when delivered in two-to-three-minute bursts, it grates over the course of a 13-track record. There's no doubt that she has chops, but the problem is her thin timbre, which is an acquired taste. To doubters, she seems to squawk her songs as much as sing them, but to her fans, it's all part of her idiosyncratic style. That argument was easier to accept when she was only on TV, but like all AmIdol winners, she is less impressive on record than she is on the show. Fantasia is a compelling presence on television, and she has more charisma on record than any of her peers, but without the visuals, her vocals seem mannered and overly histrionic, which may suit her diva-in-waiting persona but doesn't necessarily make her a diva. Unfortunately, Free Yourself decides to play up that diva fantasy, mythologizing her downtrodden beginnings and status as a "Baby Mama" and throwing in several tracks that swagger as if she were already a rival to Mariah. This gives the enterprise a slightly distasteful undercurrent, but the album is well crafted, rarely sounding like a rush job -- only the covers of "Summertime" and "You Were Always on My Mind" sound chintzy, and Fantasia never sounds winded the way Ruben did on his record (however, it is inexcusable that the songs don't match the printed track listing on the initial pressings) -- and it gets by on its sound and style, both from the producers and Fantasia herself. If it delivers no knockout punches, at least it maintains the mood and groove from beginning to end and is considerably more fashionable than anything American Idol has yet produced.

Product Details

Release Date:
11/23/2004
Label:
J-Records
UPC:
0828766423525
catalogNumber:
64235

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Fantasia   Primary Artist,Vocals
Gerald Albright   Saxophone
Maxi Anderson   Choir, Chorus
Louis Biancaniello   Keyboards
Debra Byrd   Choir, Chorus
Darius Campo   Violin
Larry Corbett   Cello
Joel Derouin   Violin
Kevin Dorsey   Choir, Chorus
Armen Garabedian   Violin
Berj Garabedian   Violin
Darlene Koldenhoven   Choir, Chorus
Bobbi Page   Choir, Chorus
Greg Phillinganes   Piano
Melanie Taylor   Choir, Chorus
Yvonne Williams   Choir, Chorus
Evan Wilson   Viola
John Wittenberg   Violin
Terry Wood   Choir, Chorus
Craig Brockman   Keyboards
Eric Dawkins   Background Vocals
Bob Peterson   Violin
Sam Watters   Background Vocals
Missy Elliott   Background Vocals
Jazze Pha   Rap
Natalie Leggett   Violin
Tony Wilkins   Choir, Chorus
Charles Pettaway   Guitar
Deborah Sharpe-Taylor   Choir, Chorus
Angela Fisher   Choir, Chorus
Lil' Steve   Background Vocals
Laurence Greenfield   Violin
Julian Hallmark   Violin
Nisan Stewart   Drums
Eric "Ebo" Butler   Choir, Chorus
Tank   Various
Dan Smith   Cello
Nicholas Cooper   Choir, Chorus
Alyssa Park   Violin
Tamyra Gray   Background Vocals
Byron Motley   Choir, Chorus
Allison Lilly   Background Vocals
Jazmine Sullivan   Background Vocals
Mario de León   Violin
Matthew Funes   Viola
Sarah Parkins   Violin
Underdogs   Various

Technical Credits

Barbara Acklin   Composer
Ernie Isley   Composer
Eugene Record   Composer
Mark James   Composer
Phalon Alexander   Composer
Louis Biancaniello   Arranger,Composer,Programming,Producer
David Campbell   String Arrangements,String Conductor
Johnny Christopher   Composer
Steve Churchyard   Engineer
Jermaine Dupri   Composer,Producer
Ira Gershwin   Composer
Ross Hogarth   Engineer
Marvin Isley   Composer
O'Kelly Isley   Composer
Ronald Isley   Composer
Bill Malina   Engineer
Yolanda McCullough   Engineer
Tom Ranier   Orchestration
Brian Scheuble   Engineer
Robin Sellars   Engineer
Soulshock   Arranger,Producer,Instrumentation
Nigel Wright   Producer
Karlin   Arranger,Producer,Instrumentation
Craig Brockman   Composer,Producer
Rodney Jerkins   Composer,Producer
Damon Thomas   Composer
Sam Watters   Arranger,Composer,Producer
Missy Elliott   Composer,Producer,Audio Production
Jazze Pha   Producer
DuBose Heyward   Composer
Charles Pettaway   Composer
Wayne Thompson   Composer
Ricky Lewis   Composer
Harvey Mason   Composer
Carsten Schack   Composer
John Horesco   Engineer
Johnta Austin   Composer
Alexis Yraola   Art Direction
Kamel Abdo   Engineer
Vito Colapietro   Composer
Neely Dinkins   Composer
Zachary Wallace   Composer
Ric Rude   Producer
Bryan-Michael Cox   Composer,Producer
Charile "CSUN" Bereal   drum programming
Harold Lilly   Composer,Producer
Dabling Harward   Engineer
Alex Cantrall   Composer
Chris LeBeau   Artwork
Nico Solis   Engineer
Antonio Dixon   Composer
Tamyra Gray   Composer
Carlos "El Loco" Bedoya   Programming,Engineer
Sean Garrett   Composer,Producer,Engineer,Vocal Producer
Soulshock & Karlin   Audio Production
Underdogs   Producer,Audio Production,Instrumentation

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Free Yourself 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 46 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Fantasia is a great singer, performer and a great person overall and her album shows how great of an artist she is! i love the album can't stop playing it! She has a great Future Ahead! Way to go Fantasia!
Guest More than 1 year ago
FANTASIA'S ALBUM WAS GREAT! Her album entitled "Free Yourself" has a wide range of songs, from her show-stopping rendition of "Summertime" to her hip single mother antem "Baby Mama". Her voice sounds great as well as her lyrics. She is definetely an American Idol!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Fantasia definitely has a bright future ahead of her in the music industry. I do hope that she stays grounded and keeps her humility and stay humble, baby-girl.
Guest More than 1 year ago
FANTASIA, formerly known as Fantasia Barrino delighted the AMA audience last night with a song off of her soon to be released new album, FREE YOURSELF. Ms. Fantasia has proven to be quite a force to be reckoned with. She has so far shown us that her career did not end with her win on American Idol. Her old fans will be delighted with the new songs as well as the old on her Album. Her new listeners will be the most delighted after having a chance to listen to Summertime and I Believe, which have become FANTASIA favorites among her many many fans around U.S. and abroad.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Fantasia even though you are only 20 years of age, your voice has this mature sound that the young, middle and older aged people can relate too. Most of the women can get into your music because it is what we have been going through for years with our black men who do not appreciate the things we struggle so hard for and that is love and happiness and a family. We as women go all out for our black men for them to later turn around and treat us as though we do not exist. Thank you fantasia for this album because it made me realize that I can make it through life on my own and be happy with just me and my children.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Fantasia Barrino was born for greatness, not many singer has the natural God given vocals like this young lady. And what makes her so amazing is that she's not boastful or arrogrant she's so HUMBLE. Fantasia have a voice that can soothe away any fears, pains or dispairs. Everyone should make Fantasia part of their life by owning FREE YOURSELF. Remember I said it, Fantasia is bound for greatness.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This album is really,really good if you have doubts about getting it you seriously should.She is the definition of "Star Power" this girl has it all and more her voice is so silky and just glides through every track that seems tailor made just for her
Guest More than 1 year ago
She makes a mockery of Summertime and You Were Always on my Mind. It is downright disgraceful. One song sounds like a mice screaming(this is supposed to be hip/hop rap whatever that awful music is, hows that for irony)And talking about all songs sounding the same, heres a winner. Same, old boring voice you heard on idol w/ outrageous innumerable "yea yea yea" you'll be sick to the point of wanting to throw up after listening to the CD more than two times. Well, judge for yourself, but its surely a flop, its not pleasant to the ears. Her voice is downright vehemently awful. If you have ears that dislike the sound of "nails on a chalkboard" don't buy it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Finally a young singer that puts the S back in SOUL!!! She simply makes your heart flutter with the intensity of her voice. There were naysayers about Aretha and Patti too, I recall.... Narmi
Guest More than 1 year ago
Do not sleep on this CD an excellent R&B album, classic re-makes awesome CD I listen to it everyday.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was happy when Fantasia won on American Idol. I liked her hip-hop R&B Club feel. She seemed like the girl that you'd watch in the middle of the dance floor going "Heeeeey." But this album is the woman sitting at the small table in the corner with a cigarette in her mouth. For her bubbly personality, this album was a little bitter and way too hopeless romantic. My heart still beats fast to "Summertime", and I really enjoyed "Truth Is", "Selfish" and "Don't Act Right", but they had an up-beat dance feel to them. "Summertime" is kinda old school but she adds a lot of flavor to it. The rest of these songs just seem so Old School R&B. I'm not knocking Old School R&B, but I was looking for something different in this album. She's got a song called "Baby Mama" which congratulates women who have children and no man in their lives, who are also still doing things to improve their future regardless of dude being in their lives or not. But the rest of the cd sounds like she's chasing dude around begging him to come back or understand why he hasn't. The concept of this album is terrible but Fantasia's voice is beautiful. She just needs someone else to give her a new school feel.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wow! If these clips are any indication, this will be THE CD to have this season!! I am looking forward to hearing the full length songs!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Absolutely a breath of fresh air. I don't where the critics are coming from but for all the hard core R&B/soul music lovers, this is CD will give you chills. I've got mad love for Fantasia...for all those haters (critics), get over it. She's doing the darn thing!
Guest More than 1 year ago
you have to get this CD it's one of the best CD's ! She have every type of song to reflect everybody's mood and style. from it's all good if you got your heart broken buy a gut you played you she give you strenght to say it's all good your going to be alright. baby mama is a song for siongle mothers she lets you know that you can still go after your dream and be proud of yourself. it's just a great cd all i can say you must get it and you won't be sorry! it's worth every penny every song on this cd is great
Guest More than 1 year ago
The woman is blessed and I'm glad I bought the C.D. and I don't buy CD's....you go Fantasia. Royal_T ILL-Noize, USA
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have worn the CD out. I love it so much. The message is GREAT!!! I wish I would have been as brave as Fantasia and used my voice. But I did not. Thanks Fantasia for doing what GOD wanted you to do.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This Album has beautiful vocals and is produced very well. I am looking forward to every ablum this girl puts out....cuz she REALLY puts it out there!....Inspiring and Exciting.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Fantasia's soulful voice is refreshing. I have been waiting for her cd and it was well worth it. All I can say is WOW!!! You go girl.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Well no wonder Fantasia has heavyweights like Aretha Franklin, Missy Elliot, R Kelly and more begging to work with her. No wonder America chose her as a winner for American Idol 3. This album is the best I've ever heard, she sounds like a veteran, her vocals are so pure, they sound amazing. The songs are unique and catchy. I recommend you buy 5 of these albums to share with family and friends, stuff those Christmas stockings with this great gift of FANTASIA, I know I will:)
Guest More than 1 year ago
I personally love the CD and the songs that she sings. Fantasia has shown on this first CD that she is a very versatile singer and performer. She has crossed over into all types of music from slow to up beat. I say you go girl and keep turning a deaf ear to the negative press and people who can not sing themselves, but just write opinions. Keep the faith and give God the glory for all the good things he has done. As far as the songs being out of order as printed, it does not matter, because in any order they all sound great. She will be in this business for a long time. Love you Tasia. From Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Guest More than 1 year ago
Fantasia...what can I say, I'm not suprised or shocked at all. This is just what I have been anticipating all these months. Fantasia is truly what the music industry needed. She shines a whole new light on music. She is our Princess of Soul. This is a talent that is unlike any other. People should stop hating on Fantasia, and just listen. This album speaks for itself. Clive Davis, Fantasia, and J Records has ha hit on their hands...whatever singles are released from here, is automatically an attention grabber. God has given this talent that cant ever be taken away. Congrats Fantasia on a continuosly and successful career. REMEMBER SHE IS A STAR FOR LIFE....SHE HAS A TALENT...NOT SKILLS!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
THIS CD IS ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!!! IT EXCEEDS ALL OF MY EXPECTATIONS. FANTASIA HAS SUCH A BEAUTIFUL VOICE AND I THINK SHE IS DEFINITELY THE NEXT WHITNEY OR MARIAH! YOU GO GIRL!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Fantasia Borrino, is the best American Idol ever. Not only can she sing she can perform on stage. Her CD Free yourself is exceptional. Whenever you have a CD with more than 4 great cuts its a good CD. Fantasia has more than 4 great cuts. Congrats on her grammy nominations. Fantasia can sign. I just have one advise for Fantasia. Try not to scream so much when you get happy with a song. This can mess up your vocal cords.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This cd is off da chain. You should go and buy this album if you don't have it. Fantasia, YOU GO GIRL!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Fantasia has done a great job mixing the old school music with a new urban twist. Keep up the good work, I knew you would win this competition.