Illustration by Gina Ledor
2017’s “Best New Artist” Khalid is back with his second studio album, Suncity. After the young artist’s breakout debut song “Location” soared to the top charts and was later certified quadruple platinum, his first album was released, titled American Teen. It seems that listeners everywhere were developing quite a liking for the rising artist’s unique voice and catchy tunes. Despite Khalid’s immediate success and award recognition, the question of whether or not the artist could maintain his growing popularity and quality of music still remained.
Khalid’s blend of R&B, soul, and hip-hop found in his previous album can clearly be recognized in this seven track album. Songs like “Saturday Nights,” “Better,” and “Vertigo” have a distinct sound that is unique to Khalid, sharing their tone with many songs from his first album. These three songs are also the most lyrically sound. While the other four tracks are either filler tracks or beat and melody focused, these three retained the same flow that everyone fell in love with back in 2017.
Relying on his distinct vocal qualities, this album prominently displays Khalid’s more melodic and mellow side. The song “Motion” has a very soothing flow, and although it may not be filled with poetic lyrics, the artist’s vocal range really gets to shine on this track.
Although the calm and slow vibe that are found on many of the songs are audibly pleasing, many songs seemed empty and unfinished. A good variety and differences in sound can often benefit an album and help tie it together, but when placed in a seven track album, it seems that the listeners are only left with a couple of songs with any real substance. When combining the few full songs with both a one minute intro and a one minute interlude, there’s hardly any space left, and the album truly begins to suffer from its short length. Even the best of artists can’t produce amazing tracks and albums every time, and it is important for all young artists to continue to experiment in order to achieve and find their own unique style and sound. For example, in the final song, titled “Suncity”, Khalid sings the whole chorus in Spanish. Even if the song wasn’t amazing, it is nice to see him experiment and expand on his skill set.
In the end, there are simply not enough complete songs to fully solidify the album, and although the quality of the songs is more important than the quantity, this album does not provide a strong answer for either category. A couple more songs would have benefitted this album by creating a slightly bigger cushion. There were simply too many songs that lacked some kind of meaning, and too little space on the album to accommodate them, which made the whole album seem incomplete.