Paul McCartney premiered his new, anthemic song "Freedom," written in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks, at the benefit concert he sponsored at Madison Square Garden in New York in October 2001. He then augmented the live recording with studio overdubs and added it to his about-to-be-released album, Driving Rain. That album's first single, "From a Lover to a Friend," was already in the pipeline, but response to "Freedom" dictated that that single would be deleted and replaced with this one. "Freedom" is a simple if stirring sing-along in the style of an old folk song, and its impact in the fall of 2001 was undeniable, even if it didn't sound like one of McCartney's great songs even then. "From a Lover to a Friend," bumped to B-side status with a remix added, is a plaintive ballad reflecting McCartney's pain in dealing with the death of his first wife and looking forward to his commitment to his second one.
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann