Track Review: Khalid, ‘American Teen’
Teen R&B singer Khalid shows incredible potential on 80s-inspired, urban contemporary single, “American Teen.”
Up-and-coming R&B artist Khalid drops “American Teen,” the title track from his highly-anticipated debut album. Khalid has had a mighty promo campaign, as “American Teen” is among seven singles issues from his debut album ahead of its March 3 release! “American Teen” sounds younger than previous singles from American Teen (“Location” and “Shot Down” namely). Vocally, Khalid remains mature, possessing an instrument transcendent of his 19 years of age. Ultimately, the result is another enjoyable and respectable performance.
“American Teen” borrows 80s pop and urban cues as its basis. The result is a bright, exuberant sounding song that contrasts others from the LP. Set in a major key, the optimism is formidable. Vocally, while Khalid is invested, but he never forces anything. He avoids gospel histrionics, which clearly don’t seem representative of his style. The rub? “American Teen” could use a bit more vocal bite, despite the incredible poise and maturity of Khalid.
Lyrically, it’s all positive vibes from Khalid. Early on, he asserts:
“Living a good life full of good vibes / My eyes are on the grey skies / Saying I don’t want to come home tonight / Yeah, I’m high up, off what?”
Essentially, he’s young and has nothing but greatness and life ahead of him. He’s ready to grow up and experience life for himself. He confirms the opportunities ahead of him on the chorus:
“‘Cause this is our year / So wake me up in the Spring / While I’m high off my American dream / We don’t always say what we mean / It’s the life of an American teen.”
While he seems ready to pursue the forthcoming chapter in his life, he also embraces his youth in the final two lines of the aforementioned quote.
All in all, “American Teen” is a song of celebrating growing up and also embracing youthfulness. While more punch from Khalid would’ve only amplified the intensity, the compelling vocalist successfully conveys his feelings and thoughts without a question.