Review: 'Suncity' offers deep, self-reflecting trip

Khalid Sun City

El Paso artist Khalid released his EP "Suncity" on Friday.

After more than a year of touring and collaborating with artists such as 6LACK and Halsey, Khalid released new music Friday on an EP titled “Suncity.”

It’s his first solo work since his early 2017 debut album “American Teen.”

“Suncity” shows the contemporary R&B artist’s evolution in song substance since his original breakthrough while it maintains his recognizable smooth delivery and relaxing background beats.

The EP begins with a track titled “9.13,” which is not so much of a song as it is an instrumental collection of soothing sounds to go along with a sound bite. It’s an interesting way to start, but it showcases how far Khalid’s star power has come in a relatively short amount of time.

His deep song “Vertigo” follows the intro with a simple beat and small hints of orchestral music.

The lyrics make this work shine. Khalid self-reflects, pondering about the trials he has gone through while also asking himself if we are all alive or dreaming.

The next track, “Saturday Nights,” maintains the deep vibe. The music is similar to “Vertigo” but this time incorporates a handpicked guitar sound. Khalid is talking to a love interest in this song, saying her parents don't know her or care like he does.

The EP then transitions to a short track called “Salem’s Interlude” with the instrumental music of “9.13” but this time with a girl talking about embracing her fears.

Following the interlude is the hard-hitting song “Motion,” in which Khalid tries to tackle the emotions of falling for someone. As is par for the course with Khalid, there is a strong beat accompanying sensual, easy-flowing lyrics.

“Motion” ends with bits and pieces of the next song, “Better,” mixed in it. That creates a seamless transition from one track to the next.

“Better” is the single from the EP, and it did well on the charts after its release. It delves into a common problem among young people, trying to figure out if they are more than friends with someone. “Better” has a bit of a quicker beat than the others, and keyboard chords are in the melody.

“Suncity,” the EP's namesake, rounds out the tracks. It features up-and-coming R&B female artist Empress Of and is the most lively and upbeat song in the project. The lyrics are a mix of English and Spanish as Khalid and Empress Of sing about waiting for someone. Latin American influences are heavily present in this song.

After debuting as a pop-oriented artist with songs that resemble shallow teen topics, Khalid reemerges on his new “Suncity” EP with his same chill style but much deeper lyrics.

This is the type of EP to listen to on a quiet night kicking back with friends. Khalid maintains the quality of his previous works with more meaning.