Album Review

Dominic Fike’s Sunburn: An Open Letter to Nostalgia

todayJuly 14, 2023 72 3

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By Adrianna Elias

Music Journalist

Dominic Fike’s highly anticipated sophomore album, “Sunburn,” delves into the depths of nostalgia, personal struggles, and growth. With a series of well-received singles, collaborations, and his rising fame, Fike prepared his listeners for a genre-defying piece of work to be a reminder of his matchless artistry and a glimpse into the formative experiences that shaped him as an artist.

Ginger freckled woman looking at another woman’s back that is sunburned with the imprint of a man’s face.
Sunburn album cover | Dominic Fike

Fike’s introduction to the music scene through a now-infamous YouTube video, directed by Kevin Abstract during the height of the Brockhampton craze, provided a glimpse into his raw talent and personality. The video captured Fike’s reluctant yet genuine demeanor, discussing his journey from jail, where he never stopped creating and releasing music, to a creative collaboration with Abstract in that moment. Since then, he has signed with Colombia Records, released the highly sought-after SoundCloud demos to all streaming platforms, and dropped his first official album two years later, showcasing his undeniable talent and catching the attention of music enthusiasts worldwide.

Fike’s appearance in HBO’s “Euphoria” further solidified his connection to his character, as he drew from his own experiences with addiction and personal struggles. Despite almost being kicked from the show for drug use, Fike’s portrayal resonated deeply with fans who recognized the authenticity he brought to the role. We will never forget the strangely long and intimate “Elliot’s Song” …. Very interesting take Levinson.

Sunburn: A Memoir in Sound:

The album “Sunburn” is an intimate memoir that encapsulates Fike’s personal journey, disorienting memories, and the influence of his family and environment. The opener, “How Much is Weed?” serves as an introspective letter to his past, blending emotional turmoil with the possibility of finding solace through dance.

Fike effortlessly navigates through various genres throughout the album, reflecting his freedom of expression and experimentation. Collaborations such as “Think Fast” featuring Weezer and “Dancing in the Courthouse” produced by Kenny Beats add distinct flavors to the album, displaying Fike’s versatility and ability to adapt his sound to unique styles.

As the album progresses, Fike takes on a more sincere and melodic tone. Tracks like “Dark” resonate deeply as he reflects on his past mistakes, acknowledging a darker side of himself similarly to his father. This introspective song portrays his journey through adversity, including experiences of homelessness, jail, and breaking promises to people he cares deeply about, losing a sense of himself when turning away from his family.

It is one of my personal favorites off the album simply for the production and structure of the song. A deeper cut for the fans with multi-referential lyricism and a conversation with his mom at the end talking about memories, both having a tough time remembering, paying homage to his hometown in south Florida, waves crashing on the beach in the background.

“Then I replaced my mama with a white b*tch from the palisades”

Referencing Genius Annotation on the lyrics, Fike could be talking to his relationship with Diana Silvers, an American actor who attended Palisades Charter High School.

“Then after she broke up with me, I became who my mama hates, I became my dad

I would break promises that I would make to my favorite people

I’d cheat on my favorite b*tch and then I would lie through my teeth”

In the song “Good Game” from his previous album it seemed to be from the perspective of his mother urging him to never become his father. However, after Fike’s breakup, realized he had done just that, something he had always aimed to avoid.

“You remember when Alex had no front teeth?”

Challenged by his perception of self, feeling like a mere shell of who he used to be, having become everything he vowed he would not. He carries the weight of breaking hearts and making promises he never intended to break. Fike yearns to rewind time and cherish the simple joys of his childhood, like reminiscing about his brother Alex’s toothless grin.

Two younger boys, one holding a guitar with a hat on and the other shirtless smiling with a toothless grin.
Young Dom and brother, Alex, sporting a toothless grin. | i-D /ALX and Dominic

Some notable collaborations like “Mona Lisa,” featured in the highly anticipated film “Spiderman Across the Spiderverse,” captures the essence of head-over-heels love. Additionally, the collaboration with Remi Wolf on “Bodies” provides an exciting Easter egg for fans, symbolizing their musical connection.

Dominic Fike’s “Sunburn” is a remarkable album that serves as an open letter to nostalgia. Through its candid and genre-defying approach, Fike takes listeners on a personal journey of self-discovery, growth, and reflection. His ability to seamlessly blend different styles and deliver heartfelt lyrics sets him apart as a compelling and authentic artist. “Sunburn” establishes Fike as a rising star, leaving an indelible mark on the music industry and captivating audiences with his unique sound.

Two baby pictures next to each other. One with two young boys and their mother and the other is one kid and his mother.
Fike and his mother, Jessica Fike. | OkayBliss / Dominic Fike

Written by: kadencemakenna

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