Arts & Entertainment

Genre-bending artist fails to move beyond singles

Written by: Charlie Gstalder, Opinions and Editorials Editor
Photo courtesy of Commons.wikimedia.org

Dominic Fike — the Apple logo tatted, shadowy, blond musician — released his debut album on the final day of July. 

I, like many people familiar with Dominic Fike, first heard him through his platinum certified track, “3 nights.” Blown away, I began frantically searching for more music and any information on the artist. 

I found a demo tape and, ironically, numerous articles about the mysteries surrounding a kid signed to a multi-million dollar deal with Sony Records off of a six track demo.

In the months following, Fike released a number of singles and collaborated with BROCKHAMPTON. Fike’s work with the band’s front man Kevin Abstract resulted in one of the best songs of 2019, “Peach.”

 Suffice to say, I was incredibly excited for this album and held high expectations. The results were somewhat disappointing.

What Could Possibly Go Wrong is 33 minutes long and spread across a whopping 14 tracks.

 Fike combines elements of alt-rock, indie-pop, bouncy yet conversational hip-hop and rap to highlight the discomfort and uncertainty that came with his fame and meteoric rise.

 Unfortunately, outside of themes, the album is horrifically incohesive. Each song ends with three to four seconds of silence, turning each track into a bite sized single. 

The spacing between songs signifies that the goal might have been radio and streaming success rather than the creation of a debut album.

 This is not to say the songs are bad; many are excellent.

“Come Here,” is a brief, overdriven and guitar-focused track that, while good, fails to set the album’s mood and feels largely out of place. 

Track two, “Double Negative (Skeleton Milkshake)” is classic Fike: effects-heavy rhythm guitar with strong drum work provide a backdrop for him to alternate between beautiful and catchy choruses and rhythmic singing that blurs the line between alt vocals and spoken rap. 

Track 3, “Cancel Me,” contains some of the most interesting lyrics on the entire project. A thematic opposite to “Yikes” off of Kanye West’s 2018 Ye, Fike begs to be canceled so he can spend more time with his family, at one point rapping “I hope they crucify me, I hope they put me down, I hope they euthanize me… motherf*cker, Jimmy Kimmel does not want to meet me.”

 The track’s chorus includes the line, “So I can quit wearing this mask, dawg,” which feels incredibly pertinent to our current situation, despite being a reference to fame’s tendency to turn a person into a caricature of themselves.

One of the only examples of inter-album references comes on track six, “Why,” in which Fike sings about the “lady with the long legs” and says “I write about her thighs in my latest lines.” 

On the following track, “Chicken Tenders,” the chorus includes the lines, “When she hit the remote with her legs shakin.”’ Such is likely a reference to the love interest of “Why.”

Track 11, “Politics & Violence,” is the highlight of the album. On it, Fike combines atmospheric, autotuned vocals with synth work before a beat switch at the 1:50 mark, ushering in a strong rap verse in which Fike hazily floats between the snare hits.

Was this album bad, or were my expectations impossibly high? Probably the latter. Nonetheless, I expected better from a kid who has the potential to be a dominant, genre-pushing voice for years to come.

Categories: Arts & Entertainment

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