‘Suncity’ lacks cohesiveness, still has some shining moments

Kaitlin Clark, Print Editor-in-Chief

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With songs spanning a range of emotions and genres, contemporary rhythm and blues artist Khalid’s new EP, “Suncity,” is a creation that is so tantalizingly close to being good, it feels like a tease.

After the breakout success of his album “American Teen” in 2017, Khalid established himself as one of the top artists of the year. Despite his many 2018 appearances, including performances at the Billboard Music Awards and the American Music Awards, fans have been wondering when Khalid would release new music, and while they finally have their answer, it may not be what they had expected.

“Suncity” is a unique blend of seven songs of varying genres. Khalid incorporates everything from Latin pop in “Suncity” to a more classic R&B sound in “Vertigo,” and while I admire the increased variety in his music, it just didn’t quite work for me. At times, I truly enjoyed the EP, but there was very little cohesiveness between the tracks. When I first heard “Vertigo,” I was taken in by its heavy beats and smooth vibe and instantly declared “Suncity” to be a hit. It was reminiscent of the entire “American Teen” album, and I was thrilled to listen to the rest of the EP. Soon, however, my dreams of Khalid’s usual floating melodies and strong rhythms would be sent crashing back to Earth.

Khalid certainly has talent, but “Suncity” just didn’t have the collective themes and tone that made “American Teen” work so perfectly for me. I was never able to fully immerse myself in the music, and this was in large part due to the interruption that “Salem’s Interlude” created. The spoken piece sounded like a phone call, and while it may have been insightful for some, it felt like an interruption between two songs — “Saturday Nights” and “Better” — that would have otherwise fit together very well.

Despite my grievances with certain aspects of it, “Suncity” does have its shining moments. The EP begins with “9.13,” which includes an excerpt of when Khalid was given the key to the city of El Paso, Texas, which is his hometown. I thought this tribute was touching and served as a fantastic way for him to show that although his career and fame will grow, he will always remember where he came from.

“Suncity” may not have been what I imagined Khalid’s next big project would be after “American Teen,” but there are moments that shine through. Khalid is still relatively fresh onto the music scene and is figuring out his sound, which is nothing to be ashamed of, especially when he has the talent to experiment musically. Even though “Suncity” didn’t fully work for me, I look forward to seeing where Khalid will go with his style.

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