Album Reviews Music

Musical Advent Calendar #24 Khalid – American Teen

American born singer songwriter Khalid stormed his way into the music scene in 2016 with his first single “Location”, and in 2017 he released his debut album American Teen. His distinguished and refreshing sound of contemporary R&B, infused with soul, is making waves throughout the music industry; earlier this year he supported Lorde on her worldwide tour, and it has recently been announced that he has been nominated for 5 Grammy awards.In 2018 he will achieve what every musician dreams, to headline their own world tour – he will stop in the UK to play at major cities including London, Manchester and Glasgow.

This young man is unstoppable.

Khalid taps into the emotional epicentre of teenagers experiencing twenty first century life. He includes songs about love, as any emotional teenager would. He suggests that millennials experience relationships in a way so alien to our parents, as it’s so different to how they made them. In the age of technology, relationships, whether romantic or friendly are formed through social media, and instant messaging, and Khalid comments on this modern love story.The combination of euphoric beats with his soulful voice, as well as the chilled R&B vibes creates his unique sound, with guitar riffs and electronic music combined he creates the perfect youth anthems.

“Young, Dumb and Broke”. What better way to describe adolescent millennials? This is one of Khalid’s best songs according to Spotify, and it is because it perfectly encapsulates teenage life. He sings, ‘What’s fun about commitment, when we have our life to live, yeah were just young dumb and broke but we still got love to give’ – he’s saying that as young people we should embrace the freedom of little responsibility before we’re adults. Similarly, in “Therapy” he sings, ‘I’m not one for relationships it’s overrated we can still be lovers that’s all I’m saying’. He gets it. He’s showing us that the essence of youth is freedom and growth, and he’s saying you don’t need be in a relationship at this age, but can embrace meeting different people. I think this is one of the most powerful messages he conveys in his album, that actually, youth entails freedom and new experiences, mistakes are allowed to be made and when they are we learn from them.

Singing about the breakdown of a relationship in “Coaster”, he portrays an honest truth about the struggle of missing someone. He sings, ‘Moving on seems harder to do, when the one that you love moves faster than you’. We’ve all been there. We’ve all had heartbreak. We’ve all seen that ex move on. The title of the song is apt, heartache is a rollercoaster, some days it seems things are okay, then the next it’s not – he conveys raw pain that sadness entails. The message I got from this song, was that actually it won’t be smooth sailing, and you will hurt, but that it’s an emotion that transcends people of all kinds, and binds them together in this understanding of heartbreak and the struggle this produces.

Writing not only about love, but heartbreak and grief as well, Khalid depicts the multitude of feelings teenagers and young adults will experience during the transition from child to adult, filled with emotional nostalgia. This one of the many reasons why he is quickly becoming very popular not only in the US but worldwide.

Ellie Harradine


Thank you for joining us for the musical advent calendar! and to all our contributors for their wonderful writing!!

our end of year playlist is here for posterity, do have a listen.