REVIEW: Khalid’s (No, Not the DJ) New Album- "American Teen" (No, Not the Soundtrack to That One Documentary That’s Pretty Much "The Breakfast Club")
Up-and-coming artist Khalid dropped his debut album, American Teen on March 3rd, as promised in his Twitter countdown. Thanks to the release of singles preceding the album, his fame began to grow—especially with the immediate hit “Location” that made its way to daytime radio. No lie, I thought that it would inevitably become annoying since the radio has a five-or-six-song-looped-playlist split up by commercials that tell you who to call in an accident before 911, but (very surprisingly) I’m still happy when it comes on for the third time in an hour.
Khalid also released singles “Reasons,” “Hopeless,” and “Let’s Go” which all received attention as people took notice of his unique voice that blends soul and R&B. With the growing attention, the question stood: would his first album would live up to the hype? Spoiler alert: Khalid did not disappoint.
American Teen features impressive vocals from the Texas native, who is only 19 years old. Combined with his relatable lyrics and incredibly catchy beats, the album had me nodding my head through all fifteen tracks, and feeling some type of way.
The album tells the story of a kid graduating high school and wanting to have a lit summer with his close friends—while also dealing with the heartbreak of his young love ending. Khalid balances open-hearted emotions with brighter songs that bump as he pairs his ‘feels’ with getting faded under the summer sun in his hometown, El Paso.
Back-to-back ballads “Saved” and “Coasting” flow together beautifully, while the sincere “Shot Down” and “Therapy” contrast more upbeat hits like “8TEEN,” “Let’s Go,” and “American Teen” (conspiracy theory: this track may have had a slight influence on the album name).
Khalid proves you can, in fact, be sad and turnt at the same time (as if Hopkins students didn’t already figure this out after finishing any test ever… Have you been to a frat after a physics midterm? Enough said.)
With Khalid’s suave sound carrying you along through each track, it’s unsurprising that the entire album flows well as a whole. Blending his raspy voice with synth beats and smooth 80’s samples, Khalid has created the embodiment of being a “Young Dumb & Broke” teen, with the freedom of having your whole life of love, heartbreak, and fun ahead of you. It looks like we may already have the album of the summer and the “Best New Artist” of the year on our hands. I know I’ll happily be listening to American Teen on repeat for a minute.
You can buy American Teen on iTunes. First, check out the titular track here:
By Alyson Richardson on March 6, 2017, 12:48 p.m.