Greetings from the second rock!!
It has been far too long since I have shared my experiences in the arts with all of you. I must apologize for that. I took a brief vacation to the rings of Saturn, which are truly beautiful this time of year. I feel reinvigorated, like I am half an eon younger.
While on my sabatical, I had the great pleasure of listening to this album multiple times, often several times in a row. Rhythm and blues is truly one of the most versatile genres, and most certainly has some of the greatest artistic minds that this planet has to offer. Khalid Robinson is one of the truly gifted poets of his generation, and definitely one of the crown jewels of his hometown of El Paso.
American Teen can be listened to as an entire album, each song blending seamlessly into the next in a dreamlike reverie of summer lovin’, happened so fast.
As a very close friend to a young human going through a break up recently, I hear his own pain and sadness oozing through the soundwaves of this masterpiece. Every human being can connect with the sweet innocence of blissful ignorance that Robinson so effortlessly describes. The lonliness that comes from love on the rocks is one of the worst kinds, and Robinson is most certainly drawing inspiration from personal experience. If he is not, he is one of the most intuitive and perceptive Earthlings ever to have brought poetry and musical vibrations together into blues and rhythmic sorrow.
The opening song is the epitome of the entire album, and as such is appropriately named American Teen as well. And where that song leaves us wanting more, Young Dumb & Broke delivers, describing every single listener’s teen years so perfectly and with such eerie precision almost as if he is reading from their diaries. The album’s hit song Location acts as a metaphor for the longing that comes with a relationship taking a turn for the worse, and the helplessness that comes with not being able to do anything about it.
A personal favorite of mine, Another Sad Love Song, indicates that this is just another break up story that has been told over and over again. But it has never been told like this. 8TEEN, Let’s Go, Cold Blooded, all stand alone and at the same time work together to bring the sadness and desperation that we all felt from our first break up back with a vengence.
With Winter, Robinson says that he “lost his heart in the nighttime” and that he “fell in love in the morning”, but that “the days get harder in the winter”. Holy freaking crap. This man has taken such a simple, indescribable feeling and ,almost as an afterthought, described it. The sweet sunshine of a new relationship, losing yourself in the emotion and ignorance of love, and then the winds of winter bringing the lonely night crashing down around us when it ends.
Thank you, Khalid. Thank you so much.