By Luis Nieto Jr. | Contributing Writer
American Teen is a fifteen track album by Khalid that describes life in New York for a lonely high school student who recently graduated. The record explores themes including loneliness, confusion, and high school love. The hidden gems on this album are “American Teen,” “Young Dumb & Broke,” and “Location.” It is these tracks that dive into the mixture of a very talented individual who, at the age of nineteen, is looking at a bright and huge future for more experimental to come.
The story of this album highlights with a soft but dancing beat to the first track of “American Teen.” The song best describes how Khalid saw his life throughout his childhood and his early progression into the lifestyle of being a young and curious African American in the United States. Freedom and liberty is something that he struggles to understand throughout this song and he is confused about whether he should be proud to be an American despite the current state of the country.
“Young Dumb & Broke” is the second track of the album and one of the first tracks that many new fans of Khalid are heavily introduced to. He expresses the confusion that comes in relationships regardless of years of commitment, short-term love, and even high school sweethearts. The song doesn’t just question the effects of relationships but also makes a case for people who only want out of commitment due to issues it involves.
“What’s fun about commitment, when we have our lives to live?” he asks because relationships are supposed to enrich people, but instead can force them into unwanted situations due to loneliness or the need for attention. Khalid explains that commitment in a relationship should be a fun process while also strengthening the person in the long term, instead of draining the person’s mental health.
“Location” delivers to the listener a beat-driven production that is met with soft piano riffs along with the soft vocals that provide the song with a laid back atmospheric vibe. Throughout the song, Khalid details the awkward stages that come from a new relationship with someone and how dating, to a novice, can be ultimately scary or confusing.
“At times I wonder why I fool with you, but this is new to me, this is new to you.” The lyrics best describe that sense of awkwardness in something new and life-changing like a relationship for someone who has always been lonely just like Khalid.