Pharrell casts a foreboding, revolutionary mood over his snappy, infectious production on “Freedom,” a new song that debuted today as part of the massive Apple Music launch, Consequence of Sound reports.
DJ Zane Lowe debuted “Freedom” during the first hour of Beats 1, one of Apple Music’s 24/7 radio stations; users of the new streaming service can also watch the song’s accompanying video, which is available to purchase for $1.99. “Freedom,” however, is streaming thanks to BBC Music 1.
The cut bears some sonic similarities to the ubiquitous Girl hit “Happy,” but they don’t extend far beyond the track’s uptempo pace, grooving percussion and Pharrell’s soulful vocals. In Kanye West parlance, “Freedom” is Pharrell’s “Pardon, I’m getting my scream on”: Throughout the verse, Pharrell sings softly, but by the chorus he’s unleashing a mighty wail over an ominous piano melody, sharp backing vocals and blaring horns.
Ahead of its debut on Apple Music, Pharrell played “Freedom” during his set at the Glastonbury Festival over the weekend. In an interview with BBC DJ Annie Mac, he spoke about the performance, which he called one of the most memorable of his career. “Listen, we all afterwards were kind of teary eyed because the energy of the crowd was so big, and it was so strong,” Pharrell said. “It was like the wind — you see the effects of it, but you couldn’t see it. You just felt it, because it just blew through you and blew past you.”
Along with his own new song, Pharrell helped Puff Daddy premiere his track, “Finna Get Loose” onstage during Sunday’s BET Awards. Pharrell also executive produced Snoop Dogg’s latest album, Bush, which arrived in May.