|Recording information: Chevy Shack Studios, Atlanta, GA; Conway Studios, Los Angeles, CA; Cruise Control Studios, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Doppler Studios, Atlanta, GA; Henson Recording Studios, Hollywood, CA; Icon Studios, Atlanta, GA; Konkast Studio, Atlanta, GA; Metropolis Studio, London, England; Record Plant, Hollywood, CA; Solitaire Studios, Atlanta, GA.
|The Senegal-born vocalist (and reigning king of cameo appearances) takes a sensitive turn on his third LP, FREEDOM. From the outset, Akon seems to have spurned his earlier hip-hop tendencies in favor of an electric Euro-pop production. The bouncy, synth-driven opening cut, "Right Now (Na Na Na)," produced by Giorgio Tuinfort, seems aimed at European dance floors while the soft techno beat of "Beautiful" sounds like an interpolation of Alice Deejay's hit "Better Off Alone." Similarly, the oversexed subject matter of past hits like "Smack That" and "I Wanna Love You" takes a back seat to apologetic lost-love yearning and reverent pleas for reconciliation on tracks like "Keep You Much Longer," in which Akon declares "Wish I could stop by and maybe say hi/Wish I could stop by and lay by your side." Still, there's room for pseudo-gangster posturing and good-life boasting as Akon croons "Gorillas want war but they ain't got money" beside Young Jeezy and Lil Wayne on "I'm so Paid."