Khalid’s new EP “Suncity” marks the start of a new era

After breaking on to the music scene in 2016 with his Grammy-winning single “Location,” Khalid said on Twitter that his new EP titled “Suncity” would mark the start of a new era.

In his relatively short music career, Khalid has quickly made himself a household name. His 2017 album titled “American Teen” received Grammy Award nominations for Best Urban Contemporary Album and Best R&B Song and was certified platinum seven months after it’s release. Khalid also was nominated for new Best New Artist at the 2018 Grammys and won a VMA award for Best Artist in 2017.

Khalid’s name has been all over the charts since “American Teen” was released. He has appeared on hit songs with artists like Kendrick Lamar, Normani, Lorde and Ty Dolla $ign, just to name a few. He has also appeared on the movie soundtracks for “Black Panther,” “Superfly” and “Love, Simon.”

Khalid prides himself on versatility, and that is on full display in this project. The opening strings on the second track titled “Vertigo” are reminiscent of a Coldplay song, the guitar chords behind Khalid’s mellow voice on “Saturday Nights” sound like they are from a country song, and he even practices his Spanish over a reggaeton beat on the titular track “Suncity.” It is surprising how well his voice works with all these different styles and his experimentation on these three tracks make them my favorite from the EP.

Speaking of his voice, it is so mellow and soothing that it makes you close your eyes and just sway to the music. He has this monotone delivery throughout most of the project and it can start to sound repetitive at times, but he switches it up often enough to keep it interesting.

“Suncity” is more pop than “American Teen,” which was a bit more R&B, but his sound and style differentiate from typical pop songs enough that fans of any genre can listen to and enjoy this project, which is another plus.

My biggest problem with this EP is that, while it consists of some different styles, it doesn’t quite differentiate from his previous works as much as I hoped it would. The tracks on “Suncity” differ in sound from “American Teen” and some of his other songs, but it is the lyrics that haven’t changed.

The juvenile lovestruck songwriting that is just vague enough to be all-encompassing on tracks like “Saturday Nights” and “Better” can be found on dozens of Khalid’s songs and it started to get old for me on this project. He experiments with different sounds on “Suncity,” and I personally love it, but he doesn’t branch out in his songwriting, which is a tad disappointing to me. It definitely doesn’t ruin the project, it just keeps it from being as impactful as it could’ve been.

Overall “Suncity” is short and sweet. This seven-track, 21 minute EP won’t stand out as much as “American Teen” did, and outside of “Better,” the only single, might not get much play on the radio either. But if you are a fan of Khalid, like I am, you will definitely enjoy “Suncity.”

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