Khalid’s ‘Suncity’ explores teenage love, freedom

Photo courtesy of Right Hand

Khalid released his new EP, titled  “Suncity,” on Friday, Oct. 19. Appropriately, the fall release  is reminiscent of summer’s fading heat and the freedom of teenagehood. The 20-year old R&B singer’s newest release is an auditory masterpiece comprised of five songs accentuated by two interludes and provides the best experience when listened to chronologically. Always one to pay homage to his roots, the term “Suncity” is a reference to the singer’s hometown of El Paso, Texas. Elements of his origins are woven throughout the EP, ranging from the interlude “9.13,” in which the mayor of El Paso honors Khalid with a key to the city, to the Spanish lyrics interspersed throughout the final song on “Suncity,” a track that shares a name with the EP.

The release of “Suncity” was preceded by the release of its lead single, “Better,” on Sept. 14, leaving fans in anticipation until the EP’s debut five weeks later. “Better,” a blend of Khalid’s husky, irresistible voice, infectious beats and mellow piano chords, clothes itself in the façade of a love song. In reality, the song describes a relationship that focuses more on physicality than anything else, but the song’s duplicity does not detract from its allure. In fact, the beauty of the song is in its ability to capture the freedom and passion of youth, which justifies its place as the EP’s lead single.

The main selling point of “Suncity” is that it embodies the essence of being a teenager within just twenty-one minutes of music. It exemplifies an array of themes and emotions that most teenagers can identify with, such as fear, self-doubt, infatuation and desire. For example, the tracks “Vertigo” and “Salem’s Interlude” examine the themes of fear and self-doubt as Khalid deliberates over his journey in life and whether or not he is making the right decisions. The song “Saturday Nights” illustrates the sensation of young love and the innocent belief that nobody else understands one as well as a significant other. As the EP nears its end, the track “Motion” segues seamlessly into “Better,” and both songs demonstrate adolescents’ affinity for exploration and inclination to appease their desires.

Khalid began his ascent to fame with the release of his debut single, “Location”, on August 26, 2016, and the singer shows no signs of stopping anytime soon. In addition to releasing his first full studio album, “American Teen”, in March 2017 and the release of his first EP this month, Khalid has collaborated with various artists including Ty Dolla $ign, 6LACK, Billie Eilish and Shawn Mendes. In addition, he was featured on “Black Panther: The Album” in a song titled “The Ways” performed with Swae Lee. With the debut of “Suncity,” Khalid exhibits the full extent of his promise and talent yet again, leaving fans eager for future releases.