Freedom (Akon album)

Freedom is the third studio album by American singer and record producer Akon.[3] The album was originally named Acquitted; however, Akon changed it before it was released.[4] It was released as a download on December 1, 2008, and in stores December 2, 2008. The album debuted at number 7 on the Billboard 200 with 110,600 copies sold in its first week.[5]

Freedom
AkonFreedom.PNG
Studio album by
ReleasedDecember 2, 2008 (2008-12-02)[1]
Recorded2008
GenreEuropop[2]
Length48:50
LabelKonvict, UpFront, SRC, Island, Universal Motown
ProducerAkon (exec.), Noel "Detail" Fisher Giorgio Tuinfort, Jaylien Wesley, RedOne, T-Pain, Timothy Walls, JAYLIEN
Akon chronology
Konvicted
(2006)
Freedom
(2008)
El Negreeto
(2019)
Singles from Freedom
  1. "Right Now (Na Na Na)"
    Released: September 23, 2008
  2. "I'm So Paid"
    Released: October 4, 2008
  3. "Beautiful"
    Released: January 6, 2009
  4. "We Don't Care"
    Released: July 6, 2009

RecordingEdit

Production on the album began in May 2008 and ended in late of the same year. Originally the album was to be called Acquitted, but was later confirmed to be Freedom by Akon's label, Universal Music. Although there are some vulgarities on Freedom, it does not carry the Parental Advisory warning, making it Akon's first album not to do so. In July, a leaked recording of Akon's duet with Michael Jackson titled "Hold My Hand" was released to the Internet and at first showings of the song was supposedly taken out by Akon's music label. The song was originally posted as an Akon demo with only Akon performing the song. The leaked song was rumored to be featured on both his and Jackson's own upcoming album.[6] In an interview with MTV, Akon was hopeful to include the song on the album. However, on October 17, Akon's label released information on the track listing and the album does not feature the duet with Jackson.[7] The UK bonus track, "Clap Again" samples "Click Click Click" by New Kids on the Block. The leaked version of the lead single "Right Now (Na Na Na)" included verse rapper Danny Fernandes but never made the final cut; Akon decided to go solo. The tracks "Against the Grain" and "We Don't Care" were originally named "Falling in Love" and "Could You Be the Reason" respectively. "Troublemaker" seems to be a continuation of Akon's first solo #1 Billboard Hot 100 single "Don't Matter", with the lyrics suggesting that it is, as he says "Similar to the words it don't matter, but this time they wanna see us together, look at us now."

Critical receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic58/100[8]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic     [2]
Entertainment WeeklyC-[13]
The Guardian     [14]
musicOMH     [15]
Now     [9]
The Phoenix    [10]
PopMatters5/10[11]
Robert Christgau   [12]
Rolling Stone     [16]
Uncut     [8]

Freedom has a score of 58 out of 100 from Metacritic based on "mixed or average reviews".[8] Rolling Stone described Akon's third studio album as "melodrama about love and love lost delivered in a hooting style over synth-swamped beats."[16] Dan LeRoy of The Hartford Courant gave a positive review to the album, stating, "Akon's undeniable gift for hooks makes this an easy listen, and the ex-con posturing isn't missed."[17] The Boston Globe also stated, "This tuneful, seemingly effortless set of sun-kissed pop reminds you why he's in so much demand."[18] 411mania gave the album a score of eight out of ten and said, "This CD is great for the clubs and perhaps for driving down the road trying to find something to put in your cars, but the lyrics are your basic run-of-the-mill crunk song lyrics and leave you a little empty. The one thing I can say for Akon is that he has a pretty decent voice, he's got a great look, and he's got great promoters."[19] Entertainment Weekly gave the album a C-, stating, "Akon's philosophy of liberty also includes the freedom to reuse nearly identical hooks for 13 songs straight."[13] musicOMH gave the album one star out of five and stated, "Unfortunately, all this really means is an extra emphasis on weirdly pitched keyboard riffs and slightly dated sounding beats," and also stated "The album opens with its two best songs, which is never a good idea when there are twelve still to get through."[15] The New York Times critic Jon Caramanica described the track Holla Holla, featuring T-Pain, "is the first of theirs (song) in which the student clearly bests the mentor."[20] Meanwhile, following the album's UK release, noted writer Pete Lewis of the award-winning Blues & Soul stated: "With his new album's typically-expansive moods ranging from banging ghetto jams like 'I'm So Paid' and sexual, T-Pain-featuring 'Holla Holla', to uplifting universal anthems like the autobiographical title-track and reggae-infused 'Sunny Day', hopes are high this time round for 'Freedom' to even eclipse Akon's already-amazing past international success."[21]

Commercial performanceEdit

Freedom debuted at number seven on the US Billboard 200, selling 111,000 copies in its first week.[22] As of July 2011, it has sold 782,000 copies in the US.[23]

SinglesEdit

The first single released from the album, "Right Now (Na Na Na)", which peaked at #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 was Akon's 12th top 10 hit on the chart. The second single is "I'm So Paid", featuring Lil Wayne and Young Jeezy. The single made a "Hot Shot Debut" at #40 on the Billboard Hot 100 and fell off the charts after a few weeks, but then re-entered and peaked at #31. "Beautiful", the third single, debuted and peaked at #19 on the Billboard Hot 100. The fourth single from the album was "We Don't Care", The music video surfaced online on June 16.[24][25] The songs "Troublemaker" featuring Sweet Rush and "Keep You Much Longer" peaked at #97 and #123 respectively on the Billboard Hot 100 based solely on iTunes downloads following the album's release without single releases.

Track listingEdit

No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."Right Now (Na Na Na)"
  • Akon
  • Tuinfort[a]
4:01
2."Beautiful" (featuring Colby O'Donis and Kardinal Offishall)
  • Akon
  • Jaylien 2010[a]
5:13
3."Keep You Much Longer"
  • Akon
  • Tuinfort
  • Mark "Exit" Goodchild
  • Akon
  • Tuinfort[a]
4:21
4."Troublemaker" (featuring Sweet Rush)
  • Thiam
  • Timothy Walls
3:57
5."We Don't Care"
  • Akon
  • Tuinfort[a]
4:16
6."I'm So Paid" (featuring Lil Wayne and Young Jeezy)
4:24
7."Holla Holla" (featuring T-Pain)
3:00
8."Against the Grain" (featuring Ray Lavender)
4:04
9."Be with You"
  • Thiam
  • Hakim Abdulsamad
  • Akon
  • Abdulsamad[a]
3:51
10."Sunny Day" (featuring Wyclef Jean)
5:13
11."Birthmark"
  • Thiam
  • Tuinfort
  • Fisher
4:23
12."Over the Edge"
  • Thiam
  • Tuinfort
  • Kelly
  • Akon
  • Tuinfort[a]
4:27
13."Freedom"
  • Thiam
  • Tuinfort
  • Fisher
  • Akon
  • Tuinfort[a]
4:15
Total length:55:21
Digital Bonus Track
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
14."I'm So Paid" (featuring Lil Wayne)
  • Thiam
  • Fisher
  • Carter, Jr.
  • Akon
  • Detail
3:22
UK & Australia Bonus Track
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
14."Clap Again"
  • Thiam
  • Abdulsmad
  • Akon
  • Abdulsamad[a]
5:11
Chinese Bonus Track
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
14."Be with You" (Mandarin Version) (featuring Wilber)
  • Thiam
  • Abdulsamad
  • Akon
  • Abdulsamad[a]
4:34
Brazilian Bonus Tracks[26]
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
14."Beautiful" (featuring Negra Li) 
  • Akon
  • Jaylien 2010[a]
3:53
15."Clap Again"
  • Thiam
  • Abdulsamad
  • Akon
  • Abdulsamad[a]
5:11
Tour Edition Bonus Tracks[27]
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
14."Be with You" (Mandarin Version (featuring Will Pan)
  • Thiam
  • Abdulsamad
  • Akon
  • Abdulsamad[a]
3:51
15."Beautiful" (Reggae Remix) (featuring Colby O'Donis and Kardinal Offishall)
  • Thiam
  • Wesley
  • Colón
  • Harrow
5:13
16."Sexy Bitch" (featuring David Guetta)Akon, J. Wesley, David GuettaDavid Guetta, Jean-Claude Sindres*, Sandy Vee*3:47
Tour Edition Bonus DVD[27]
No.TitleDirector(s)Length
1."Right Now (Na Na Na)" (video)Hattem Abu Sitta4:01
2."I'm So Paid" (video)Gil Green4:24
3."Beautiful" (video)Gil Green5:13
4."We Don't Care" (video)Gil Green4:16
5."Home Grown – Webisode"  
6."Be with You" (Mandarin version featuring Will Pan) (video) 3:51
  • ^[a] signifies a co-producer
  • ^[b] signifies an additional producer

ChartsEdit

CertificationsEdit

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[53] Gold 35,000^
Canada (Music Canada)[54] Platinum 80,000^
Denmark (IFPI Danmark)[55] Gold 10,000 
GCC (IFPI Middle East)[56] 2× Platinum 12,000*
Lebanon (IFPI Middle East)[56] Gold 1,000[57]
Singapore (RIAS)[58] Gold 5,000*
United Kingdom (BPI)[59] Platinum 300,000^

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.
  Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Akon'S Angel Available Now!". Akononline.com. Archived from the original on February 23, 2011. Retrieved February 23, 2011.
  2. ^ a b Andy Kellman. "Freedom - Akon". Allmusic.
  3. ^ Akon's official site. Archived February 23, 2011, at the Wayback Machine Accessed September 21, 2008.
  4. ^ Akon Hoping For Michael Jackson Collaboration On Forthcoming LP, Acquitted. Mtv.com.
  5. ^ Akon & Scarface Debut On the Charts, Kanye Goes Gold - XXL
  6. ^ Michael Jackson Cameo Shocks Akon Songwriter
  7. ^ "Akon's new album "Freedom" tracklisting is out!!!". Universal Music. Retrieved February 23, 2011.
  8. ^ a b c "Critic Reviews for Freedom". Metacritic. Retrieved October 26, 2012.
  9. ^ Tim Perlich (December 10–17, 2008). "Akon: Freedom". Now.
  10. ^ David Boffa (December 15, 2008). "Review: Akon : Freedom". The Phoenix. Retrieved October 26, 2012.
  11. ^ Jordan Sargent (December 9, 2008). "Akon: Freedom". PopMatters. Retrieved October 26, 2012.
  12. ^ Robert Christgau. "CG: Akon". RobertChristgau.com.
  13. ^ a b Simon Vozick-Levinson (November 29, 2008). "Freedom Review". Entertainment Weekly.
  14. ^ Sullivan, Caroline (November 27, 2008). "Akon, 'Freedom'". The Guardian. London.
  15. ^ a b Michael Cragg (December 1, 2008). "Akon - Freedom". musicOMH. Retrieved October 26, 2012.
  16. ^ a b Jody Rosen (November 27, 2008). "Freedom". Rolling Stone. Retrieved October 26, 2012.
  17. ^ Dan LeRoy (December 2, 2008). "New On CD: Akon, David Byrne & Brian Eno, Seal, Supersuckers, Lee Shaw". The Hartford Courant. Archived from the original on December 6, 2008. Retrieved October 27, 2012.
  18. ^ Ken Capobianco (December 1, 2008). "Akon spreads love on 'Freedom'". The Boston Globe.
  19. ^ Joshua George (December 3, 2008). "Music- Akon - Freedom Review". 411mania.com. Archived from the original on May 23, 2009. Retrieved October 26, 2012.
  20. ^ Jon Caramanica (November 30, 2008). "New CDs (Akon, Freedom)". The New York Times.
  21. ^ Akon interview by Pete Lewis, 'Blues & Soul' December 2008
  22. ^ Hasty, Katie (December 10, 2008). "Britney's 'Circus' Debuts Atop Album Chart". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. Retrieved January 10, 2009.
  23. ^ "Most Anticipated". Billboard. Billboard. July 30, 2011. Retrieved November 5, 2018.
  24. ^ "Radio 1 - Playlist". BBC. February 16, 2011. Retrieved February 23, 2011.
  25. ^ "Playlist - Home". Playlist.totalkiss.com. Retrieved February 23, 2011.
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  29. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Akon – Freedom" (in German). Hung Medien. Retrieved May 19, 2020.
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  35. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Akon – Freedom" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved May 19, 2020.
  36. ^ "Irish-charts.com – Discography Akon". Hung Medien. Retrieved May 19, 2020.
  37. ^ "Charts.nz – Akon – Freedom". Hung Medien. Retrieved May 19, 2020.
  38. ^ "Oficjalna lista sprzedaży :: OLiS - Official Retail Sales Chart" (in Polish). OLiS. Retrieved September 20, 2011.
  39. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Akon – Freedom". Hung Medien. Retrieved May 19, 2020.
  40. ^ "Akon | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved May 19, 2020.
  41. ^ "Official R&B Albums Chart Top 40". Official Charts Company. Retrieved May 19, 2020.
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  45. ^ "ARIA End of Year Albums Chart 2009". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved July 10, 2020.
  46. ^ "Jaaroverzichten 2009". Ultratop. Retrieved July 10, 2020.
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  48. ^ "Top de l'année Top Albums 2009" (in French). SNEP. Retrieved July 10, 2020.
  49. ^ "Schweizer Jahreshitparade 2009". hitparade.ch. Retrieved July 10, 2020.
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  54. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Akon – Freedom". Music Canada. Retrieved February 23, 2011.
  55. ^ "Danish album certifications – Akon – Freedom". IFPI Danmark. Retrieved September 22, 2019.
  56. ^ a b "IFPI Middle East Awards – 2010". IFPI Middle East. Retrieved July 3, 2011.
  57. ^ "IFPI Middle East Award Application Form" (PDF). International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. Archived from the original on March 28, 2014.
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External linksEdit