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Posted on June 12th, 2014 (8:00 am) by Troy Arnold

Heavy is the head that wears the crown, and Big Freedia has been the Queen and Ambassador of New Orleans bounce for more than a decade. Her latest album Just Be Free is yet another step to bring the bounce into the mainstream, but unfortunately, all it does is showcase exactly why this subgenre can only flourish in certain environments. Just Be Free is frantic, raw, exciting, and ultimately exhausting.

Just Be Free is relentless for its ten tracks. The appeal of Bounce is the use of high BPM and layered vocals; it makes for a specific style of dance and crowd participation between the DJ and the people in the club. Freedia has tried to capture that in studio form, and she did a pretty good job of it but there is still something that’s lost in translation. The genre is built upon the ability for the artist to read the crowd, keep them involved, and dictate what they do next. It’s why the lyrics are instructions and repetitive phrases. On a studio album, there is co crowd, so Freedia is just spewing phrases, and dictating a pace that isn’t nearly as enjoyable without the atmosphere.

That is the ultimate downside of Just Be Free, it’s a club album without the crowd. As a listener, you go from one song to the next, being told where to put your leg and what to do with the beat over and over again until you work up a Zumba level sweat. The fact that most of the songs are over three minutes is actually more of a punishment than a blessing. I found myself tapping out and skipping the last thirty seconds after a while because I just couldn’t take the pace anymore.

Big Freedia is trying to bring bounce to the masses, but there won’t be many that accept it. It is a niche of a subgenre that lives and dies in nightclubs. Just Be Free is still bounce at its finest, but it also reinforces the fact that there may not be a mainstream lane for the genre. Thirty plus minutes of rapid fire snares and phrasing hardly make for a good listen, but it does make for a solid cardio workout. Just make sure you have some oxygen tanks handy.

Track List:

  1. Turn Da Beat Up
  2. Dangerous
  3. N.O. Bounce
  4. Jump On It
  5. Lift Dat Leg Up
  6. Ol’ Lady
  7. Where My Queens At
  8. Explode
  9. Y’Tootsay
  10. Mo Azz
Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

55 / 100
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