Khalid - American Teen
There has been a huge buzz surrounding Khalid, and this debut album, for some time now. Seen as the next big thing in pop and R&B music Khalid has set himself on the road to stardom that many mega stars have walked before. At first glance however you find that Khalid doesn't have the usual tools required for what He is trying to do: He isn;t a great dancer, He doesn't have a super powerful voice nor does He follow any of the standard rules about what being a music means. He is sensitive, soft and more often than not personal to a point of almost too much information. American Teen feels very of this moment, especially for youth culture. While we often go straight to hip hop these days when we think of what's happening right now, Khalid is proving that Pop heavily influenced by R&B still has a seat at the table as well. His music is also incredibly modern using the verbiage and phrasing that has developed since the explosion of the internet. Khalid doesn't shy away from these topics, as some songwriters do in fear that the moment may pass and the song can become laughable, and instead digs in on how people interact using their phones in their daily life. His songs don't center around technology but He also doesn't pretend that we live in a world where it doesn't exist. Reality on reality's terms.
This idea of a really youthful album may cause some people's bristles to stir, but besides the inclusion of some technology and speaking the way people actually speak today Khalid really isn't doing anything all that wild, yet He is one of the only ones actually doing it. What really connects for Khalid is just how earnest He is. Each track feels so thoughtful and cared for that you immediately climb on board, even the ones like "8TEEN" which may seem prohibitively young for people who have been able to vote for a few presidents actually just works. There is also this pleasant lack of contrived tracks. There is no tailor-made turn up anthem, no overly sweet love song and as a whole Khalid doesn't follow many of the pop rules and instead just gives us what is in his mind. Khalid blending in Electropop also adds to the ethereal vibe that He creates throughout. It is also a breath of fresh air that American Teen is sexy but not overtly sexual. So much of R&B today leans heavily on sex and Khalid just finds that there is more to talk about and the album benefits. American Teen is a record that is supremely of the moment, but Khalid is setting himself up to be one of the artists to watch in the future.
8.3 out of 10