At first, I thought American Teen by DJ Khaled. I was immediately turned off by it, didn’t want anything to do with this, and did not want to give it another thought. However, I did. This is not DJ Khaled. This is a hip new artist, and I am digging this.
Khalid is only 19-years old, this is his first album, and this dude deserves some mad respect.
American Teen is 55 minutes of soft-tuned 80’s pop, with raspy vocals, and effortless warmth. This does not seem like the album to give someone “the feels,” but I have seemingly caught the feels. Khalid sings about close friendships, summer loving, and being a teen. But not in a weird way. That isn’t supposed to be off-putting or make someone think of “making my way downtown/walking fast/faces pass” kind of thing, because American Teen is nothing close to that.
“Another Sad Love Song” is my favorite on this album. It’s so catchy, and upbeat for being a “sad love song.” Khalid talks about being hurt by his lover, the bridges that are burning in their relationship, and how the tables have turned in his classic love story that he is living in. “I’m not the best at showing my emotions/you cut me deep and left me wide open” is possibly a mention on how Khalid is emotionally unavailable and how he sort of blames himself for the ending of the relationship.
It’s modern, edgy, and yet somehow soft punk.
“Young, Dumb, & Broke” is another golden tune on this jam-fest of an album. As high school kids we are just “young dumb and broke, but we still got love to give.” This speaks to me, maybe because it’s true; and Khalid’s a teen and he must think it’s true too.“Young Dumb & Broke” finds Khalid convincing a love interest that their youth allows them to be “young” and “dumb.” Though Khalid feels like there’s no need for romantic commitment, because he’s still “got love to give.” The beat and rhythm to this song, and the entire album, is perfect. It fits, it flows, and it’s gold.
Khalid sings about modern life as a teenager in all 15 perfectly crafted songs through his lyrics, and vocals. The only explicit song on the album is “Let’s Go,” which by the way has a bad word repeated four times within the first 26 seconds, along with the “s” word near the end. Otherwise, the entire album is pretty clean, with a few explicit mentions of drugs. But lots of artists rap or sing about the same thing and worse, so this didn’t really phase or bother me. “Let’s Go” is my least favorite on the album. The entire intro up until the chorus is pretty good and catchy, but then it’s like Khalid wanted to be Frank Ocean and added the high pitch voice into it. Ocean did that well, Khalid, not so much.
His entire album goes from an upbeat song to a slow song to an upbeat song again. None of the songs particularly sound alike, and yet they do. They fit the mold he has created for himself and is making it work. It’s that warm catchy 80’s vibe that a lot of people are into right now.
Khalid so far has done really well with his first album. American Teen is #22 on iTunes chart, “Location” is #24 and on the rise on Billboard’s ‘Hot 100 List,’ and #1 in my heart. Since the album’s debut it has not dropped below top 100. It is also quickly becoming one of the most played albums on my Apple Music account.
This album is amazing for a windows-down-jam-sesh, chilling at home, and a mini-dance party after getting out of the shower. It’s something almost everyone can jam out to this summer. Honestly, there is a song for every mood someone could possibly be in.
Khalid is on the rise on the charts and in our hearts.
Album: American Teen
Pricing: $6.99 on iTunes
Label: RCA Records & Right Hand Music Group
Release Date: March 3, 2017