Track-by-track review of Free Yourself Up by Lake Street Dive

Zain Beverly, Radio Intern

Lake Street Dive is a soulful jazz/americana/pop/rock/R&B troupe and they’re exploring relationships from a mostly female perspective in their sixth studio album, Free Yourself Up. They’re a multi-genre band, and this album exhibits it with songs ranging from big and loud jazzy anthems, rolling R&B grooves, and slow and personal ballads that would fit in at a smoky, dim lounge.

Album cover art for Free Yourself Up by Lake Street Dive

Track-by-track Review:

  • Baby Don’t Leave Me Alone With My Thoughts –  The album starts off strong with a string of the best songs it has to offer. This first track is a fun and flirty song with a driving groove and a nice teasing of one of Lake Street Dive’s greatest assets, lead singer Rachael Price’s powerful and smoky, alto voice. A song about casual relationships and using them to forget about your worries, at least for a bit.
  • Good Kisser – Up next is an empowered breakup song about standing up for yourself after a breakup, and not allowing an ex to turn your shared acquaintances against you. It’s a fun time.
  • Shame, Shame, Shame – Is this track, the band takes up the role of a disillusioned partner fed up with the negative aspects of a significant other. It has an infectious groove in the first half, backed up by tight bassline and Price’s vocal. Then it transitions into a gospel piece with promises of “change” coming.
  • I Can Change – See what they did there. The “change” that was promised in the last song has arrived in the form of a very personal acoustic piece about personal growth, with some haunting piano chords behind it.
  • Dude – I talked about a change in the album with the last song. It went from upbeat and loud anthems to a very personal and contemplative piece. The album changed again here, and not for the better. We’ve entered the Mediocre Zone™. Dude starts off promising with a driving beat and good kinetic energy, but it falls flat on a chorus that is really missing some “oomph.” Also the line, “We used to kick it like Joe and Obama,” makes my eyes want to roll out of my head.
  • Red Light Kisses –  This track has a nice bassline, which is a constant through most songs on this album that includes the instrument. It’s a fun enough song about the titular physical romantic gestures, if not just a little forgettable.
  • Doesn’t Even Matter Now – We’ve waded through the Mediocre Zone™ and have made it back to Doesn’t Even Matter Now. This tune starts out with our protagonist checking out some handsome devil at a bar, but it flips the script when she realizes that “Bobby” is a little more sinister than a pretty face. This rock/pop ballad touches on the dynamics between a man and a woman in a relationship, and how a messy breakup usually casts the latter in a bad light.
  • You Are Free – This track is a bit of a “run of the mill” love song with Lake Street Dive’s signature sound. It’s samey and just okay.
  • Musta Been Something – This track is the other slow, somber song on the album. It’s another nice showcase of Price’s amazing voice and would fit right in at a classy lounge. For me personally, however, it overstays its welcome and just isn’t the kind of song I listen to the band for. This one is completely a matter of subjective taste.
  •  Hang On – In the final track of the album, the band rekindles the energy from the first few tracks with a catchy tune that sort of reiterates the whole theme of this album. Through all these relationships, and Dude’s, you’ve just gotta hang on.

Summary: Free Yourself Up is an album with some standout songs that are a ton of fun and inspiring tunes about relationships from a female perspective. Unfortunately, a few dull tracks weigh down the middle. Don’t let it stop you from experiencing Good Kisser, Shame, Shame, Shame, or Hang On, though. I’d give this album 3.5/5 sails.