Khalid - Scenic Drive Music Album Reviews

With a stacked guest list, the 23-year-old singer’s latest mixtape showcases his curatorial instincts even as it cruises through a familiar landscape of soft, shapeless R&B.

Khalid crooned his way to the Billboard charts by insisting just how chill he is. He wants to talk; he wants you to “come and vibe”; his music is shapeless and innocuous, mild enough to blend into any top-hits playlist. A Khalid album is low-stakes by definition. His latest project, Scenic Drive, sets expectations even lower: This is a tape, he proclaims, setting the scene with a gauzy intro that spins the radio dial between snippets of his past hits and ends with Alicia Keys assuring, “We’re here tonight to provide the vibes.” It’s a flimsy premise, one that Khalid and a bevy of featured artists—nine guests in 29 minutes!—fulfill with soft, stolid R&B. The music is lush and low-key, slipping out of your headphones before you even realize it’s playing.

Scenic Drive is a concept record, and Khalid goes all in on driving metaphors, murmuring about roads and back seats and Lamborghinis. The theme is less architecture and more, as Khalid might say, a mood; the songs meander, Khalid’s voice undulating in layers over sparse, twinkling beats. It’s hard to pinpoint the slippery subtext or to find deeper meaning in a line like, “I’m the one you need to be around, ’cause I won’t bring you down.” Sometimes, just being is the whole plot: On “Present,” Khalid asks a love interest for permission to “be present,” winding his way through pick-up lines that sound like they could’ve been generated by a meditation app. But you don’t listen to a Khalid song to parse it closely.

On the more interesting songs, Khalid glides to the background as another artist draws the spotlight. The singer QUIN commands the chorus on “Brand New,” trading raspy verses with Khalid over plush pulses of guitar. Ari Lennox and Smino take over the title track while Khalid harmonizes, “Give me a feeling.” The Drake-adjacent producer-singer duo Majid Jordan swirls a hint of tropical house into “Open”; rapper J.I.D adds texture to the otherwise bland, boy-band-inspired “All I Feel Is Rain.” You get little wisps of Khalid, reminders of his presence—a gravely hum, an earnest introductory platitude (“Gotta live in the moment,” he sings on “Retrograde”). But it’s his curatorial instincts that are most prominent in the selection of guests and the way he meshes them into the squishy soundscape.

There’s no gravity to Khalid’s songs, sonically or thematically; even when he approaches the idea of heartbreak, it’s from a careful distance, or quickly and tidily resolved. This default sunniness is part of what fueled his rise in pop, but after four projects in the past five years, it would be refreshing to hear him take a risk. He no longer writes so explicitly about youth as he did in 2017 with “Young Dumb & Broke,” but he hasn’t matured as a singer or lyricist, either. Scenic Drive feels like a detour because it is: Khalid announced his next studio album, Everything Is Changing, last summer. For now, though, he seems content to take a step back, sounding like he’s singing and shrugging at the same time.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Khalid - Scenic Drive Music Album Reviews Khalid - Scenic Drive Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Tuesday, January 11, 2022 Rating: 5

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