by: Julia Vaccarella ’20 A&E Staff
R&B artist, Khalid, unveiled a new EP with seven songs entitled Suncity on Oct. 19. The release comes more than a year after his debut album, American Teen. Khalid has, however, been active in the industry between his two albums, featuring on songs by Billie Eilish, 6LACK, and several others.
In his review of Suncity, Elias Leight of Rolling Stone says, “since breaking out with ‘Location’ in 2016, Khalid has focused on trying to establish himself as a pop powerhouse. This makes sense, as there are more opportunities available in the pop space than in any other arena; the difficulty is that historically, only a handful of non-white performers have been allowed to compete there.” Although Khalid’s music is arguably based on the R&B genre, he has found a presence within pop as well.
Khalid has worked with artists of varying genres, from alternative to rap. Namely, he was a part of Logic’s “1-800-273-8255,” a song that has now become synonymous with suicide prevention. Another song on which he was featured, “Love Lies,” by Normani, was incorporated on the soundtrack of the film Love Simon and made its way into the pop charts for quite some time. Considering that it has been awhile since Khalid released his own music, it will be interesting to see where the songs of Suncity land on both R&B and pop charts.
In comparison to the themes that pervade American Teen, Khalid’s new project is substantially more mature. Insofar that he is twenty-years-old, this shift could merely be seen as a representation of Khalid growing up and phasing out of the teenage world. The change is also just as likely a way for Khalid to reveal the different aspects of music that he can to bring to the table, while he is still trying to figure it all out for himself.
Suncity contains two interludes lacking vocals, as well as the song “Better,” which was released as a single prior to the EP. The song “Saturday Nights” is somewhat reminiscent of Khalid’s previous music but is less sophomoric in nature than the songs of American Teen such as “Young Dumb and Broke.” According to Billboard, Khalid said, “More than anything in life right now I want growth. I want my music to grow and represent how I am growing up. Suncity is the start of a new era for me…”
Khalid’s new music reveals that he is still trying to figure out what works best for him both in terms of genre and message. Suncity is also a testament to the many different types of music that Khalid can create for those willing to listen. Many are hopeful that he will maintain his position in the R&B genre rather than completely submitting to mainstream pop. It is possible that a full-length album will be released at some point during 2019, and fans will be eager to see what angle Khalid takes on next.