Khalid explores new styles of music in his second album

More stories from Addison Berreth


RCA Records

The album cover depicts Khalid sitting on the curb of a yellow brick house underneath a rich, blue sky, showing viewers El Paso through Khalid’s eyes.

Released October 19, Khalid’s newest project, an album titled “Suncity”, graced the ears of Americans around the country. A follow up to his 2017 double platinum debut album, “American Teen”, the 20 year old R&B/pop fused artist described his second album as “the start of a new era”. Exploring new sounds and styles, Khalid’s goal was to display his growth as a musical artist.
A month prior to Suncity’s release, Khalid was gifted the key to his hometown, El Paso, Texas. On September 13, which was officially declared “Khalid Day”, crowds at the El Paso Convention Center cheered as Mayor Dee Margo presented the key to the singer.
“I always like coming back home because it’s where I receive the most love.” said Khalid in an interview with KFOX14. Having dedicated Suncity to El Paso, the singer is no stranger to showing love for his hometown. Since the beginning of his career, he has frequently mentioned El Paso in his songs, often referring to it as “the city of the 915”.
On September 14, only a day after the ceremony, Khalid released his first single from the album, “Better”. The upbeat, groovy sounding effects give off happy and carefree vibes, and it didn’t take much time for the song to top charts, peaking at #18 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Although it’s design is rather simple, the cover art represents the album’s message and theme pretty well. The image, which depicts Khalid sitting on the curb of a yellow brick house underneath a rich, blue sky, gives fans a taste of the artist’s perception of the sunny city of El Paso.
The album, which is only seven songs long, opens with a 56-second audio of Khalid being given the keys, titled “9.13”. Smoothly transitioning into the second track, titled “Vertigo”, listeners immediately hear his unmistakably soothing voice over a haunting soundtrack and deep bass.
The song then fades into the third track, a light-hearted, acoustic ballad titled, “Saturday Nights”. This track reminded me of Khalid’s older songs. The artist sings his heart out over a simplistic sounding guitar beat, whilst talking about a girl he claims to love more than her own parents.
“Salem’s Interlude”, the fourth track on the project, features a narration of a woman discussing topics such as fear and direction. It is a good moment for listeners to stop and reflect.
The track that stood out the most to me was “Motion”, the fifth track on the album. When people think of Khalid and his music, relaxed, catchy tunes are usually what come to mind. This song was a different sound than anything Khalid has ever created before, which was a surprise. While listening to the song, I heard different varieties of textures and effects, molding together to give an illusion of movement. The song was impressive, showing the incredible range of music Khalid is capable of making.
A quality of his new music that Khalid is proudest of is his versatility. Although the songs on Suncity are quite versatile, with each song on the project having a different sound/vibe, I believe he was too focused on growing his sound and trying to make different music instead of creating the up-beat, feel-good songs his fans have previously known and loved. This left quite a few of the artist’s fans disappointed and wanting more.
“If I’m being honest, I found the album underwhelming. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love Khalid’s music, but I was expecting more from him since American Teen was so good. I’m already looking forward to his next album.” said sophomore Lucy Fazenbaker.