“Location” singer shows off the peak of his potential
Khalid, an American singer most famous for his song “Location,” released a project true to his R&B/pop roots titled Scenic Drive. In comparison to his three other albums, it’s obvious that Khalid put a bit more thought and creativity into Scenic Drive with some hard-hitting featured artists.
Right away, Khalid sets the scene to give the listener the feeling of a long car ride with no destination while the music is blasting. The first track, “Intro,” featuring Alicia Keys, opens up with the sound of a radio station dial and a car speeding off, then seamlessly fades into euphoric vocals by none other than Keys herself. Her voice meshing with the various layers from the instruments is a great way to start off a scenic drive.
“Retrograde,” which features two of the hottest artists on the charts currently, 6LACK and Lucky Daye, shows more of Khalid’s R&B/soulful side. This track makes a reference to what astrologers/spiritualists nowadays call a retrograde, where a shift in the planets creates a shift in our emotions and lives. Typically, retrograde makes us sadder, or it feels as if the world is out to get you, which is what Khalid speaks of in this song. “I take some time to sit in my retrograde/ I’m gettin’ high, so I don’t feel no pain/ In my mind, I feel it in my veins.” Another song that highlights Khalid’s R&B vocal is “Backseat.” The lyrics melted with the chords, and smooth vocals create a much more sensual sound than his usual fun and flirtatious mood.
Making a turn back to the pop sound, “All I Feel Is Rain” is very reminiscent of the early 2000s boy band era. The cadence of his vocals, especially in the chorus, along with the acoustic guitar within the background, is essentially like NSYNC mixed with 2021 pop. Rapper/singer JID slides in with a verse to give it the modern-day feel that can appeal to any audience.
Finally, one of the most talked-about songs before its release, “Scenic Drive” is a mixture of both R&B and pop, with Ari Lennox and Smino as the featured artists. Despite all the pre-hype it received, some argue that it did not live up to the hype. While Lennox, Smino and Khalid went all out and executed their verses eloquently, the overall song is a bit messier in comparison to the rest of the album. Each of the tracks on Scenic Drive are well organized and heavily orchestrated; however, the title track strayed away from the relaxing tone Khalid intended to create.
Overall, the creativity exemplified by Khalid in this album is the most evident factor throughout each song. Scenic Drive will definitely make one want to take a ride while letting it play from top to bottom.