Khalid laments a love interest that continues to haunt him in his new song, “Don’t Pretend,” which features Toronto’s Safe. The song appears on the R&B singer’s forthcoming Free Spirit LP, which will be released on Friday. The album also features a collaboration with John Mayer (“Outta My Head”) and a song written by Father John Misty (“Heaven”).
On new track “Don’t Pretend,” Khalid’s soothing voice reaches falsetto heights as he expresses his feelings for someone, which appear to be unrequited. “I feel like I’m losing you,” he sings over a tender guitar-led melody, while admitting, “No, I never had you/I’m still picturing that you’re mine.” Yet, he holds out hope all the same. “I feel like there’s nothing for me here, but still I try.”
“Keeping my phone alive/Hoping that you’ll call this time/Thought I heard you ringing,” he sings on the yearning chorus. “You know, I hear things sometimes/Come alive, come alive/Come alive, come alive/Show me, don’t pretend.”
On Wednesday, Khalid unveiled the first segment of his two-part Beats 1 Radio program on Apple Music, “Free Spirit Radio,” which delves into his sophomore album. During part two, which airs Thursday at noon ET, Khalid revealed that Father John Misty wrote Free Spirit song, “Heaven.” As Pitchfork reports, Khalid told Beats 1’s Zane Lowe that he “would never pass on singing a Father John Misty song and putting that on my album ever.”
“One, he inspires me so much, so I feel like his voice, or my voice at least, is not too far off from his, because that’s a voice that I grew up with, and I sat with and I lived with,” Khalid said. “I love that I got to take a song that he wrote and interpret it the way that it makes me feel. I love that when I listen to it, I hear him on it.
“For me, that’s a present. That’s a gift,” he continued. “How many people do you know out there who can say they’ve sang a song that Father John Misty has wrote? The fact that he looks to me and he’s like, ‘You’re going to do this song justice and you’re going to sing this song the way that it should be sang’ – Amazing.”