Khalid’s latest album, Scenic Drive (The Tapes), falls short

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Parle Magazine

the album cover for Khalid’s new album, Scenic Drive (The Tapes)

I’m always on the search for music that is perfect for late-night drives, music that doesn’t distract from the sunset through my windshield but adds to the experience as a whole. 

And lately, I’ve been searching even deeper for artists to pull me out of this winter funk I’ve fallen into, music to remind me of this summer and all the memories I’ve accumulated from those three months. 

I think I’ve finally found what I’ve been looking for: Scenic Drive (The Tape) by Khalid.

The album starts with an “Intro” that makes it both feel and sound like you’re listening to an old radio, one that’s on the verge of no longer working and switching between snippets of Khalid’s most popular singles from past albums. 

Then, Alicia Keys invites us to “sit back and enjoy the ride,” as we are enveloped in soft piano notes and her soothing voice. This track was creative and an interesting way to not only kick start the album but rather explicitly tell us the vibe Khalid was trying to accomplish with his latest work of art. 

On top of Alicia Keys, this album features several other artists; almost every track highlights another singer’s talents—QUIN, 6LACK, Lucky Daye, JID, Kiana Ledé, Majid Jordan, Ari Lennox, and Smino. 

And even though it’s one of two songs on the album that lacks a featured artist, “Backseat” was my favorite song to listen to. The sound was very beachy and upbeat while still maintaining Khalid’s calm thread that is strung throughout all of his music. It was complete with layered background lyrics and electronic beats to form a symphony of stimulation that scratched the perfect places in my brain—it gave me exactly what I was looking for. 

Despite the singular song that I liked, the lyrics of the songs didn’t jump out to me as anything spectacular.”

Despite the singular song that I liked, the lyrics of the songs didn’t jump out to me as anything spectacular. I typically gravitate towards music that has songs full of poetic lyrics and are a giant metaphor, but I didn’t find any lines that stood out to me as being necessarily profound from my listen-throughs. Instead, I decided to listen to these songs for the vibe and the chill energy they brought to the music industry. 

And while I loved the vibe of this album, it unfortunately doesn’t make up for the lack of originality. I appreciate the intro track that introduces the album and the vibe, but other than that, this seems like any other Khalid album. 

None of the songs are particularly revolutionary and have made no impression on me as a listener—I’d describe this album as good background music.   

And even though I had high hopes for this album to be the soundtrack that brings back summer memories, it’s unfortunately falling short in that category and in my opinion, isn’t worth the listen if you’re also looking for music perfect for late-night drives.