Khalid’s ‘Scenic Drive(The Tape)’ is an immersive listening experience too smooth for its own good

For the average listener, Scenic drive is a perfect record to play in the company of a lover, in solitude, or on a road trip like the title conveys. However, for Khalid, it’s a transition into the next phase of an established career.

Khalid

In the Intro of the 9-track EP, taped audios from Talk and Location are played. Two hits singles from his enriched discography. Here Khalid tries to find the perfect record for the road trip he is about to embark on. He reminisces how far he has come career-wise and recognizes he’s going in circles regarding his love life. These two particular love centric singles, inserted in this intro, allude to this theory.

Alicia Keys’ humming causes the intro to glide seamlessly into the second track, ‘Present’, an upbeat tune, where he croons over desiring a certain love interest and asserting masculine dominance. Present’s dawdled guitar strings accompanied with bass beats deliver the head nodding and feet stomping effect. These elements, accompanied by sonorous melody and heartwarming romantic lines, are generously distilled throughout the 29 minutes Scenic Drive(The Tape) runs for.

Another contribution to this EP’s appeal is the perfect R&B Artists,[6LACK, Lucky Daye, Ari Lennox, Alicia Keys and more] Khalid carries along on this drive. Indirectly, taking a ton of attention from himself and diverting it solely to the feel-good music.

Considering the song choices, promotion, and cover artwork, you can tell the 23-year-old singer doesn’t intend to dwell on the coming of age theme as he did with his breakout album ‘American Teen. Nor navigate the troubling realities of 2020’s pandemic, cultural awakening, and socio-political events as he did in 2018’s ‘Youth’ alongside Shawn Mendes. Neither does Khalid explore the anxiety of young adulthood, as Billie Eilish fulfilled with the first track of her acclaimed album, ‘Happier than ever’. Instead, it seems Khalid just wants to use his soothing vocals to make soulful music that will only require you to sit back and relax or get up and dance.

Of course, Spotify's number 1 artist in the world(2019) is well aware of his growth and struggles in the last three years more than anyone. And he is leaving the real stuff and more to be shared after the full exploration[drive through] of his romantic side. Perhaps the RCA singer is setting his brand as another african-american R&B male act; only time will tell. Either way, whichever path Khalid’s trajectory follows, it is guaranteed the music will be timeless and a top-notch listening experience.

Scenic Drive(The Tape) Is a slow burn. It will require 2-3 listens before a track stands out due to its seamless/smooth cohesion and similarity of the song themes and production. For the average listener, it is the perfect record to play in the company of a lover, in solitude, or on a road trip like the title conveys. However, for Khalid, it's a transition into the next phase of an established career.

The question to ponder upon is where the phase is? What will it entail? When will it arrive? But most importantly, in an era when the attention span of the consumer audience has grown thinnest, How long will the scenic drive continue?

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Israel Olorunnisola is a freelance creative. When he is not writing about Film, Music, TV or Pop culture he is telling stories on Wattpad.

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