ISSUE 2: Take the laid-back route on Khalid’s “Scenic Drive”

Yes it’s a story about cars, but it’s also so much more than that.


Photo Right Hand Music Group/RCA

In his first new project in over two years, Khalid yet again to El Paso, Texas, which he’s claimed as the starting point of his music career. Scenic Drive is a popular overlook in El Paso where you can see Texas, New Mexico and Mexico tucked between two mountains. Here, Khalid opens up the car door of the same car on the mixtape’s cover.

Juno Le, Editor-in-Chief

Khalid’s tweet back in October about his next project no longer being an EP was definitely confusing, but it’s totally understandable now with the drop of his new “tape”, “Scenic Drive.”

Nine tracks in total, with the most guest features the 23-year-old artist has ever included in any work of his, Khalid takes fans on yet another soulful ride in his new mixtape named after the popular El Paso lookout. If you’re worried you won’t hear enough of Khalid’s voice on his tape, worry not! Each collaboration is more complimentary of his earthy voice if anything.

“Intro” is one of my favorite parts of “Scenic Drive.” The first half of the track recreates the sound of switching between radio stations of an old car and snippets of Khalid’s previous tracks “Better”, “Talk” and his first hit song, “Location” can be heard between the static noises. For someone who hasn’t listened to Khalid in a while, it felt nostalgic hearing pieces of his past work before hearing the new. And best of all, Alicia Keys plays the role of a radio show host easing you into the next song on queue, “Present”, with a smooth, radio-like transition.

Khalid’s music isn’t anything life-changing, and it doesn’t need to be. Keys’ lines in “Intro”, “We’re here tonight to provide the vibes/So sit back, relax and enjoy the ride”, are so fitting to the overall sound of the album. The tracks are good ambiance in a late-night drive, the kind where you’re a bit drowsy and slumping in the passenger seat but with the rhythmic chill of R&B vocals.

The best piece from the tape would have to be “Backseat,” a tempered, musky track of love and doubts. “Backseat” is both sensual and soft, giving that romantic feeling of a long drive with a lover. It’s one of two tracks on “Scenic Drive” without a guest feature but doesn’t fail to match the same soulful energy as the rest of the mixtape. If it’s an “I’m going to romanticize anything and everything” kind of night, this track won’t fail to mellow your thoughts in dreamy fashion.

Two years can be a long time, but at least it hasn’t changed the Khalid music we know and love. Guest feature or not, it’s not a Khalid album without the elegance and synth-hop rhythm. Enjoy this lovely “Scenic Drive” and take it easy on the road while listening to this tape.