In a time of computer generated beats, EDM drops, rap features, and poppy, repetitive melodies, it is not often you get something raw, an anthemic song that shakes you up and makes you want to do something.
Don’t get me wrong. The grocery list of Top 40 music elements isn’t bad. Hell, if you can’t stop singing and bopping your head to the beat, then clearly they’re doing something right. But there are fewer songs that make you feel something beyond the physical these days. The songs that can possibly make you want to dance, but they should always make you want to move. To push forward. to take action.
Louisiana born singer/songwriter Brittany Pfantz began seriously experimenting with her musical talents when she was gifted a ukulele in 2012 (and with encouragement from friends and family). She was making her way towards becoming a physical therapist, but upon falling in love with music, she dropped all plans and began to travel. Though many people in her life did not believe she would be able to make it into a full time career, she continued to work on her craft. 2013 was the year her career truly began; she was only 22 years old and a senior in college at the time. Her first EP, “Free Birds” was released in 2014, and shortly after, she learned guitar and began performing live. She has since opened up for artists like Tank and the Bangas and Marc Broussard. In 2016, she made it into the top ten artists out of 715 entries for a talent search conducted by the Nashville label, Big Machine Records. When offered a contract, she ended up walking away for fear she may be choosing the wrong label for her and her music. Her second EP “I Shall Climb This Mountain” was released in 2017. She has intermittently released singles around these two albums. Pfantz has described these two EPs as the journey towards discovering her true sound. She recently relocated to LA and formed an electro-soul duo called French Toast with a French DJ named Charles Calvet. But she continues her solo work with just as much passion. Her music has hints of many different genres like soul, folk, blues, reggae, etc. She has also been compared to a mix of artists like Amy Winehouse and Janis Joplin. “Freedom” is the latest and second single from a new project Pfantz is releasing soon.
The song begins with vocal exclamation; Pfantz sings out “freedom”, her voice muffled with an almost AM radio filter, the music crackling behind her. A big, hollow drum beat rings out, a glittering cymbal appearing every now and then to accompany it. Deep male voices hum. All of this almost seems dated and ritualistic. It gives off the feeling of power. The beat begins to pick up, sounding more like angry stomps and claps than drums. Pfantz layers track on track of soft and beautiful “oohs” that build up to create a majority of the musical harmony in the song. This only changes a bit later when, in the last quarter, a piano and electric guitar are added to the mix. Altogether, the song is rocky and full of soul; this may be true mostly because of Pfantz’s rich and raspy voice.
Freedom, freedom, freedom…
If I’m ever gonna get there,
I gotta be free…
If I’m ever gonna get there,
I gotta find where the sunshine is gonna let me be me.
In all of the posts promoting this single, Pfantz has included a dictionary definition of the word “freedom” which reads like this: “the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint”. Keeping this in mind, I believe these lyrics express her need to be completely uninhibited in order to accomplish her hopes and dreams. They convey her need to find a space and environment that allow her to be her true self, uncensored and unapologetic.
The freedom I know, can’t be bought or sold, no
The freedom I know, you can’t pay in gold, no.
Give me liberty or give me death.
Give me liberty or give me death, I say,
give me liberty or give me death.
Take your gravity from off my chest.
You cannot bribe or buy your way to freedom. It’s something that needs to be earned. She sees no other solution or way to live. If she can’t be free, she can’t even fathom living. The pressure of living under someone else’s rules or expectations is too much for her to handle.
There’s a lot of old stones we keep tripping on,
but watch us hold on
Get from under their hand
if they ain’t picking you up…
Get from under their hand
if they ain’t leading you home.
Everyone keeps getting stuck on the past, the traditions and old school restrictions, but she encourages you to keep moving forward. Move forward and freedom will come to you. If something or someone in your life isn’t uplifting you, supporting you, drop them. If something or something isn’t taking you where you’re meant me, misleading you or holding you back, let them go.
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