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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 29 November 2013
I Hope was the taster for new things to come following the brilliant Heaven debut and Bridges takes Heaven up several notches, Wonderful World has one of those choruses that will be used for numerous TV soundtracks (Brazil 2014 comes to mind), We'll Be Fine demonstrates Rebecca's song writing and composing brilliance (even if she has a team helping). The album closes with the title track Freedom which is Rebecca's challenge at being possibly the current day best female vocalists in the world. Although of a completely different musical genre, this album reminds me of the sort of songs and musical genius that superstars such as U2 produce but this is only Rebecca's second album. If the people behind X-factor need just one argument to silence critics of Xfactor then Rebecca Ferguson is it. Amazing unique talent!
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on 2 December 2013
I received my signed copy this morning (thank you Rebecca!) and I'm not one to put albums on repeat but the whole album has been on repeat at least 6 times today, no songs skipped. Some people have said that some of the songs are "samey" but I cannot point out a single filler on this album.

Personally for me as a listener it's important for me to like the singer and what they represent, and ever since her X Factor days it has been such a pleasure to see this shy, unassuming young woman staring at the floor to blossom into the lady she is today. This album ties in so well with her last album and grows from it, translating to so many women predicaments and feelings we know all too well from our relationships, our love, our resilience and above all our capacity to forgive ('I Hope'). In one of her interviews Rebecca said this album was about her growing into a woman, and while I listened to the album there was definitely a stronger woman, but it wasn't until the end that her title track Freedom connected all the threads together with its bittersweet victory, 'Freedom'. Not only did this make me cry every time I listened to it, but it just reflects what a rounded, polished work this is. I always wished for a song that reflected her vulnerability through her voice, not just her lyrics, and the effect in this song is incredibly potent.

Every song but one has been painstakingly written by Rebecca, bringing up difficult emotions and sharing it to her audience with transparent vulnerability. I know this will resound in other people like it has in me and that others will relate and empathise just as I have. I hope that this will continue to help her grow in confidence and self-belief, because she doesn't realise how inspiring she is. This is the genuine, grounded voice of experience that is missing in a lot of contrived music today. Thank you Rebecca.
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on 9 December 2013
O.K. On the first listen all the way through I didn't like it. And then I listened again and again. Now I know what she's singing about. I take it she put her negative feelings into her first album and this one is a lot happier. I was looking for another tear jerking ballad like Strange and Beautiful or Shoulder to Shoulder.

What I got instead was dance tunes like All That I've got, We'll Be Fine and I Hope, mid tempo tunes like Beautiful Design and My Freedom. And then there's Fake Smile. How did she do that? Absolute perfection again. Hang on there's Bridges as well.

What this album does is get under your skin and it doesn't let you go. Jeez, this woman is a musical magician... How does she DO that?
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on 19 December 2013
After the superb Heaven, it must have been hard for Rebecca and her team to come up with a follow-up, but this new record is simply amazing. One of the best releases of 2013! The production is crisp, the songs are diverse and Rebecca's vocals soar. A must-buy album
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VINE VOICEon 31 December 2013
Any artist knows that a sophomore album is a difficult place to be, and I suspect that Rebecca Ferguson has found it equally tricky. Her first album rode on the success of her X Factor stint, a stint in which she beat One Direction and narrowly lost out to Matt Cardle, but managed to outsell his debut by quite a margin. Ferguson's debut also met with critical acclaim, something which many X Factor graduates have failed to obtain over the years.

The pressure was on therefore to match and possibly even better that debut and I believe in terms of quality of music she has succeeded. Ferguson has retained the gritty soul found on her debut and paired it up with some more uptempo beats. This album definitely represents an evolution of her sound and manages to present itself as a cohesive body of work.

My thoughts on the individual songs are as follows:

1. I Hope- An easy choice for the first single, by far the most instant and catchy song on the album, this is truly superb. Pounding beats and a chorus which will stick in your head for days dominate the song. The only surprise was its slightly lacklustre chart performance. 9.5/10

2. Fake Smile- A gritty, raw ballad which would have fitted in neatly to Ferguson's debut album. The old-school, brassy instrumentation combine with heartfelt lyrics and a melody to die for. Superb. 10/10

3. Bridges (Feat. John Legend)- This song has admittedly taken a couple of listens for me to get into, but now I adore it. John Legend's vocals are as exceptional as ever and the harmonies within the song are brilliant. It's soulful and quite melodramatic, but a very decent song indeed. 8/10

4. My Best- An empowering song in which Ferguson 'smiles through her pain' and sings about how she doesn't need a relationship. This is uptempo, but joyfully soulful too. 9/10

5. All That I've Got- This track begins with bells before Ferguson's smokey voice chimes in in what is one of the catchiest verses of the entire album. Once again empowerment is the theme here, and Ferguson certainly does give it all that she's got. 9.5/10

6. Hanging On- I find this probably the least memorable song on the album, it's definitely an album-track and whilst it is by no means poor, it does feel a little repetitive at times and certainly isn't the strongest of the collection. 6.5/10

7. My Freedom- The first of two tracks to use the word 'freedom' in the title. This is a truly exceptional song, great lyrics, smouldering vocals and a powerful beat driving the song forwards. Again the theme is empowerment and overcoming adversity. 10/10

8. Beautiful Design- This track slows down the tempo, I realise this review is becoming somewhat repetitive, but the vocals have to be mentioned again here because they are simply captivating. This feels more like an album track, but it's an incredibly strong one. 8/10

9. Wonderful World- Not a cover of the Louis Armstrong classic, but rather an original number about looking on the bright-side essentially. A cheerful ditty, uplifted by stunning vocals. 8/10

10. We'll Be Fine- "Proper" dance beats pulsate throughout this song, which sees a slight change in direction for Ferguson. The vocals fit perfectly on this uptempo number and it is yet another album highlight. 9/10

11. I Choose You- The album begins to draw to a close with this number, surrounded by dreamy instrumentation and even dreamier vocals. Fantastic. 9/10

12. Freedom- 'Freedom' has been compared by some reviewers to a prayer, and it really does feel that intimate. Minimal backing is put to Ferguson's lush voice and it's a fantastic way to finish a superb album. 10/10

Overall Ferguson's vocals are stronger than ever on this record and she has the quality of songs to match. I think this album deserves immense success and I hope that she gets it.
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on 2 December 2013
I'm new to Rebecca Ferguson, I sort of knew shw was an X Factor contestant and had heard earlier stuff on the radio but never had muc interest. I saw her performing "I Hope" on TV and thought it was incredible, well worth a download but when I listened to the previews of the rest of the album I decided to buy the whole lot. "Bridges" is a duet with John Legend and is really amazing - fantastic orchestration and beautifully written. The album has a good mix of upbeat and uplifting dance tracks and mellow ballads and there are only a couple of weaker tracks. Highly recommended.
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on 6 December 2013
There is nothing I do not like about this - its my album of the year. Odd but I really like the bonus track - rollin but all the others are brilliant as well! Buy it (really).
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on 2 December 2013
Rebecca Ferguson's new album Freedom is on fire. It is absolutely awesome. If you loved her 1st album then I highly recommend Freedom :-)
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on 20 December 2013
I have always loved rebecca ferguson and this album is has all the reasons why I do. Every song is brilliant and heart touching. Her tone is perfectly suited to a nice relaxing evening with a book.
Perfect gift for you or someone special. I highly recommend this soulful album to anyone.
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on 17 December 2013
OK, So Rebecca Ferguson is an old X Factor contestant. It's true. The majority of those people who have ever entered the X Factor haven't gone on to have stellar careers. However Rebecca Ferguson deserves to be one of the exceptions.

Her voice has an amazing, indescribable quality. This album has grown on me over the course of the past week to point where I am now on the look out for any reason to be able to listen to it. The John Legend duet is amazing. Whilst she should be judged on her own ability; the fact that someone such as John Legend has recorded with her should show any doubters that she is far from simply a manufactured product. She has real raw, natural talent that is shown excellently on this album.

Her previous release majored on the soul. This release focuses on energy. it manages it without twisting that soulful, beautiful deep tone of her voice. It's been a real surprise to a number of people I have played it to and I hope to keep surprising them.

She's brilliant, absolutely brilliant.
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