This “young, dumb broke high school kid”still hasn’t grown up
The Santa Clara
November 1, 2018
No one hates Khalid’s music. It’s harmless and non-controversial. His most recent album continues on a wholesome path, failing to show the promise of his previous singles.
The 20-year-old’s new album “Suncity” was released two weeks ago, and was highly anticipated to live up to the hype of his previous album.
Khalid’s first album “American Teen” was known for its lowkey chill genre of R&B. The album’s hit song “Location” peaked at #16 on the Billboard just 10 days after the song was initially released. The album sold over 1.2 million copies, making it one of the 10 biggest albums of the year. Khalid, unfortunately, didn’t create a similar banger with “Suncity” and has slightly been forgotten already.
The title of the album “Suncity” is another name for Khalid’s hometown in El Paso, Texas—a place he is exceedingly proud to call home. The tracks in this album talk about his appreciation and love for his home since rising to fame. “Suncity” is very much like “American Dream” but doesn’t have the same beat and high energy. The album’s seven songs all cascade and morph together, making you wonder, “Didn’t I just hear this?”
The album starts out with an interlude “9.13” which is just a minute of Khalid humming—skip. The next songs—“Vertigo” and “Saturday Nights”—are two of the more popular tracks, with the most plays on Apple Music and Spotify. But I was looking more for a few upbeat pop hits just like his last album.
I felt like each track lacked a distinctive beat. All the songs start off slow, then peak at a slightly faster rate, only to slow back down while the background music fades away until it eventually conjoins with the next track.
“Saturday Nights” shows some similarity to the lyrics of the songs in “American Teen.” Both albums share a theme about a parent’s disapproval for the potential relationship between Khalid and his lover. Unlike other young artists who create songs with lyrics about overlooking a parent’s advice and wisdom, Khalid has recurring worry and doubt about getting approval from adults.
At the beginning of the chorus, he says, “Family feud sayin’ mom’s confused / And for sure she doesn’t want to learn / My daddy gone, so he’s never home / And wishing only makes it worse.” It seems like Khalid’s family is somewhat torn apart. So his lover’s parents may disapprove of him because he lacks connection to his own family. According to Lyric Genius, Khalid is just expressing the culture of his home by nodding at American game show “Family Feud.” So maybe I’m overthinking it, who knows.
This album barely makes the 20-minute mark. All seven songs sound mostly instrumental mixed in with Khalid’s non-lyrical whining moans. The lyrics are repetitive and each song eventually gets a tad boring, forcing you to skip to the next.
Khalid shows his real talent on his features rather than his own songs. Songs like “Love Lies” and “The Ways” fit well with his vocal style and show his talent even though he isn’t singing the entire time. Khalid’s featured songs are the right context for his voice because his lyrics are more structured and show better rhythm than his monotone solos.
In comparison to “American Teen,” “Suncity” has received low ratings and none of the tracks have made it to the Billboard lists or radio stations.
Don’t get me wrong, Khalid is very talented and will undoubtedly have more hits in the future, but his latest album is even more melancholic than usual.
I love Khalid’s style of music and will continue to listen to his songs, but he’s just one of those artists who’s a better singer than a songwriter.
Contact Azariah Joel at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (408) 554-4852.