Album Review: Khalid – Suncity

By Andrew Breazeale, Contributor
[RCA; 2018]
Rating: 7/10

Key Tracks: “Vertigo”, “Better”

Over a year after his debut album, American Teen, was released, Khalid has graced us with a seven-track EP, Suncity. After being featured on numerous albums and singles in the past year, the El Paso-raised singer finally released his own music, and boy does it feel good. His unique voice and iconic style shine on this release, laying bare his emotions and feelings for all to listen to. Riddled with love, guilt, fear and sadness, Khalid’s breathtaking voice envelops the reader in a peaceful blanket of soothing notes that remind us of why Khalid has so many hits.

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The most powerful part of this release is not just his voice, but the intricate cohesiveness of the EP. Khalid takes us on a journey to his hometown, the city of El Paso, Texas, through interludes and masterful lyricism that display his immense talent. After being introduced to the city in “9.13”, he takes us through a gorgeous ballad of loss and doubt with “Vertigo”. His dazzling voice stands out on this track, undercut by the simple beat behind his vocals. With a mix of R&B and pop, Khalid crafted Suncity to showcase his incredible voice, shown most prominently on “Better”, the EP’s lead single. This track is preceded by “Motion”, a smooth, flowing track about the emotions he feels when he is with someone he loves. But what makes this track so powerful is its ending, fading out with a distorted and fuzzy version of the chorus from “Better”. The track ends with a short interlude and jumps directly into the hit “Better”, where Khalid croons intently about how “nothing feels better than” being with that one special person.

Khalid’s magical voice fills this album with beautiful melodies and incredible runs, but what no one expected was to hear that powerful voice sing in Spanish. On “Suncity (ft. Empress Of)” Khalid and Empress Of sing half of the song in Spanish, wishing for their love to take them to the “Ciudad del Sol,” or city of the sun. Through this short EP, Khalid tells the story of his love and his loss. He transports the listener to a city in the sun, where his stunning voice covers them in a blanket of tranquility and reassurance, infectiously drawing them back into the album to listen again and again.

Listen here:

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