Free Yourself

( 46 )

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Tracy E. Hopkins
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 ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Tracy E. Hopkins
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.
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.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/23/2004
  • Label: J-Records
  • UPC: 828766423525
  • Catalog Number: 64235

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Ain't Gon' Beg You (4:14)
  2. 2 Free Yourself (4:18)
  3. 3 Truth Is (3:55)
  4. 4 Selfish (I Want U 2 Myself) (3:24)
  5. 5 Summertime (2:46)
  6. 6 Baby Mama (4:15)
  7. 7 Got Me Waiting (3:51)
  8. 8 It's All Good (4:05)
  9. 9 Good Lovin' (3:43)
  10. 10 Don't Act Right (3:53)
  11. 11 You Were Always on My Mind (4:03)
  12. 12 This Is Me (3:33)
  13. 13 I Believe (5:00)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Fantasia Primary Artist, Primary Artist, 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
Sara Parkins Violin
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
The 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, Digital Editing
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 Jr. Composer
Carsten Schack Composer
John Horesco IV 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
The Underdogs Producer, Audio Production, Instrumentation
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 46 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(38)

4 Star

(4)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(2)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 46 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    From Earth To The Sky-----Fantasia

    A very aspiring and insiprational young talented woman, who has proven that you can become and do what ever you wished, once You Believe. Great stage performance with elegant profile, keep it flowing much love.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Fantasia Borrino is the best American Idol that has ever been produced.

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    The Next Soul Stiring Diva of the 21st Century

    I don't know what those critics are talking about. This Cd is absolutely AMAZING. Fantasia shows off her powerhouse voice and proves that she is the best damn Idol that America will ever have. "You Were Always on My Mind" sounds like a follow up to Whitney Houston's reindition of "I will Always Love You." Alot of people,(male and female) will be able to relate to "Free Yourself". And for the millions of single mothers out there, Ya'll will definetely be able to relate to "Baby Mama". Oh and Fantasia: don't worry about what the critics say, there just jealous because you are a legend in the making, and a triple threat to the music and acting industry. P.S. Fantasia is also on Missy Elliott's latest album "The Cookbook".

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    DYNOMITE DIVA

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    This cd is real good

    I was very surprised that her cd would be this good. Its like u can relate to these songs. You can feel her pain. The beats are perfect and the words will blow u away. Don't sleep on Fantasia. I hope she gets awards cuz this cd is hot. I love every song on there.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Don't Sleep

    Do not sleep on this CD an excellent R&B album, classic re-makes awesome CD I listen to it everyday.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Worth the wait ...

    I was wondering what was taking her so long to get something out but it was def worth the wait. Miss Fantasia do yo'thang sistagurlfriend. I am in love and will prob have to purchase another CD ... this has been on repeat since Christmas [in my car]. I finally made it to track 13 ... all tracks are worth a repeat x's 5. Go get it!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    FANTASIA IS THE BOMB!

    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!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Fantasia is fantastic!

    I thought this was an excellent debut album. What a way to start off- Missy Elliot & Jermaine Duprie writing songs for you. I enjoyed every song.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Fantasic Fantasia

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Off da CHAIN!!!

    This cd is off da chain. You should go and buy this album if you don't have it. Fantasia, YOU GO GIRL!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    You go Girl!~

    This is truly a great CD,Fantasia have always been a favorite of mind every since AI,she is truly a great singer no matter what they continue to say about her,keep doing what you do best and bringing us great music,and may god continue to bless you with the beautiful voice you so truly have....

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    2004 American Idol becomes World Class Entertainer

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    truth is

    the truth is that she is amazing i give it 5 stars and going to buy her cd on the 23rd i can't wait i love her voice

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Outstanding debut material!

    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!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Fantasia is Fantastic!

    This is the best R&B CD that I've heard in a long time. It is a beautiful masterpiece. Her voice is so unique; it simply sends shivers down my back. I know Fantasia will make it to the top of the charts with this one. I suggest EVERYONE BUY THIS CD!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Can You Say Stocking Stuffers??

    Fantasia,your CD is the perfect stocking stuffer!! Thank you for releasing it just in time.I am so hooked on this cd.I bought my mom one(she has been behind you from jump-pressing redial for 1hour straight voting!)she loves it.For all the doubters out there-"This is what's up!"

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    this ain't singing

    this is screeching and screaming and squawking. it hurt my ears. i was shocked at how bad this was. poor production to boot. don't buy this.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Great CD, great songs

    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

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    OUTSTANDING

    This cd was very good for the the one that gave a bad review stop hating..the girl did the thang....it has a theme to it and if you have not been there then you are no going to understand.It is a shame when you cant give congrads, but haters will be haters...Fantasia you go girl and keep up the good work

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 46 Customer Reviews