Journey to Freedom is Michelle Williams' fourth studio album that was released on September 9, 2014 by E1 and Music Light.
- Need Your Help (featuring Eric Dawkins) 4:25
- Yes 3:36
- Everything 4:01
- Fall (featuring Lecrae and Tye Tribbett) 4:41
- Fire 4:31
- Free 4:08
- Just Like You (featuring Chief Wakil) 3:59
- Beautiful 4:17
- Believe In Me 3:07
- In The Morning 3:46
- If We Had Your Eyes (featuring Fantasia) 4:34
- Say Yes (featuring Beyoncé and Kelly Rowland) 4:22
In October 2008, Michelle Williams released her third studio album "Unexpected," her first release since the disbanding of Destiny's Child; it was a change from her previous gospel music albums "Heart to Yours" and "Do You Know."
The dance-pop-R&B album gained generally favorable reviews from critics, but it became a moderate seller.
Meanwhile, the lead single "We Break the Dawn" and the follow-up season "The Greatest" became top ten hits on the dance charts, though plans for a reissue of the album failed to materialize.
In July 2009, Williams began a limited six-week engagement at the Cambridge Theatre in "Chicago", making her the first African-American to be cast in the West End production of the musical. Her run was extended and she continued to appear for three additional weeks for an extended engagement through September 2009.
In January 2010, Williams announced that she had parted ways with manager Mathew Knowles and Music World Entertainment.
The following months, she made a return to Broadway by commencing a seven-week limited engagement in Chicago at the New York Ambassador Theatre; in August, she joined the eighth series of British television show "Strictly Come Dancing."
The album marks a return to her gospel roots after taking a secular detour on 2008's "Unexpected."
"Journey to Freedom" peaked at #29 on the Billboard 200, #2 on Billboard's Top Gospel Albums chart and #7 on Billboard's Independent Albums chart.
"Journey To Freedom" received highly positive reviews from music critics.
Andy Kellman of AllMusic wrote 'this is among Williams' best work, highlighted by "Need Your Help," "Fire," and "If We Had Your Eyes."
Peggy Oliver for Soul Tracks expressed similarly, writing that the album "is by far Williams’ best body of work, a personal cleansing that further amplifies her dexterity with multiple genres. Michelle Williams’ half-dozen year hiatus away from the studio has served its purpose: she has emerged as an artist clearly traveling on her own artistic road to freedom, and delivering an album that was well worth the wait."
Mike Wass of Idolator complimented the production, praising the mix between R&B and Gospel noting the album "is the perfect bridge between the singer’s gospel and secular output. By focusing on universal themes (love, hope and inner strength) and exploring new genres, Michelle has created something both inclusive and joyously experimental.' Wass also claiming Journey to Freedom is 'her best album to date."
Timothy Yap of Hallels lent praise to the lyrical themes, writing: "It's a theological meaty album with doses of spiritual muscle-inducing supplements derived directly from Scripture."
However, he noted, "The record is far too slanted towards having far too many mid-pacers. Songs such as "Free," "Just Like You" and "Everything" basically utilizes the same urban template effortlessly without having much time invested in developing stronger hooks making them more memorable. "Believe in Me," a smooth Diane Warren-styled R&B beat ballad, is redemptive in terms of breaking up the tempo. Nevertheless, despite the quibbles, Journey to Freedom is still one of this year's important releases. Williams could have chosen to journey the safe and money grabbing route by compromising her beliefs and Christian stance. But here she chooses to be true to her faith, her calling and her Lord; and the rewards are eternal."
The GospelPundit praised Samuels' production and Williams' vocals, writing: "[the album] is a catchy collection of upbeat music that promises a party, while inspiring and encouraging listeners. The Samuels Nigerian heritage provides a rich musical backdrop of African-influenced beats and chants, while his proven success in mainstream music (Chris Brown, J Lo, Ne-Yo and more) promises pop and urban styles that are relevant to a broad marketplace of music lovers. Michelle Williams tops it all off with vocals that range from pop to passionate, simple to soaring, all the while staying true to her own voice and vibe."
RoJay of Middlechild Promotions lauded the Williams' vocal performance, saying: "Although still criminally underrated as a vocalist, Michelle Williams takes control of her destiny once again and delivers another solid solo album where she gets to showcase the side of her personality that makes her as genuine and true to her art as her peers."