An Album a Day: American Teen

March 23, American Teen by Khalid

Genre: R&B
Year: 2017
Runtime: 54:37
Total tracks: 15
Songs you might know:
– “Young Dumb & Broke”
– “Location”
– “Saved”

My prior relationship with this album: “Khalid” was one of those names I was hearing everywhere without really being able to associate any particular song with him. He’s collaborated with many a different people:

– Benny Blanco and Halsey for “Eastside”
– Billie Eilish for “Lovely”
– Normani (formerly of Fifth Harmony) for “Love Lies”
– Ty Dolla Sign and 6lack for “OTW”
– H.E.R. for “This Way”

This dude seemingly went from nobody to being all over the place overnight, so I figured there must be something to his solo work. So, I gave American Teen a listen.

My impressions this time around: This is one of those albums that I thought was good after one listen, but also intricate enough that I felt the need to listen to it several more times before writing about it. At the time of this writing I’ve listened to it a grand total of four times, two of which were earlier today. I’m happy to report that it’s growing on me, and my gut says it will continue to grow on me with more listens.

As the name suggests, American Teen explores themes of youth, from heartbreak to anxiety about the future. There’s a universality to it and while one could certainly argue that such themes are overused in music, the album is executed well enough that I don’t really mind. There’s a really great balance of more catchy, radio friendly hooks like “8teen” (my favorite track of the moment) and ballads like “Cold Blooded.” I’ve found it’s a great album to write to, relaxing and soulful in all the right ways. It’s one I’m excited to continue listening to, and one that makes me excited to hear the follow-up album that apparently comes out in less than a week. Funny how I timed that without even trying.

Who would enjoy it? I’m unfortunately not R&B literate enough to compare this to other R&B artists, but I would say people who have enjoyed the other tracks that Khalid has been involved with should take the hour to listen to American Teen. It’s a solid album and I could see it helping pop fans expand their horizons into R&B.

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