Dominic Fike does not disappoint with an innovative album that has the ability to make you cry or sing at the top of your lungs at any given moment.
Dominic Fike is on the rise to stardom following his debut album and first acting role in the popular show Euphoria. Fike, a Florida native, grew up in the midst of a dysfunctional family in which his parents were often absent, in and out of jail. During his youth, tainted by addiction and inconsistency, was when he first started creating music with his friends by freestyling and eventually forming a rap collective called Lame Boys ENT (this name can now be seen tattooed on his forehead). He gained recognition over time by releasing songs on SoundCloud during house arrest, and subsequently released his first EP “Don’t Forget About Me, Demos” in 2018 while in prison for violating his house arrest. Fike’s breakout single, “3 Nights,” was included on this EP, and it resulted in him receiving positive reviews from popular media outlets including Rolling Stone and Billboard.
A year following the release of his EP, he was featured in a BROCKHAMPTON video. The video, titled “This is Dominic Fike,” helped the rising artist to be further discovered by the fans of the already well-established hip-hop group. From there, he continued to collaborate with popular artists including Halsey and Justin Bieber. With a growing audience, he released his debut studio album titled “What Could Possibly Go Wrong.”
The "Sunburn" Album
On May 18, Fike announced his second studio album, "Sunburn," and anticipation quickly grew upon the release of three singles from the album including “Dancing in the Courthouse,” “Ant Pile,” and “Mona Lisa.”
The album was recently released on July 7th, consisting of 15 tracks altogether running for 34 minutes. The title of his album, “Sunburn,” named for his blistering youth under the Florida sun, revisits his core roots while also looking towards the future through genre-bending beats. Fike explores the depths of vulnerability in each song while never allowing for a dull moment as he skillfully bounces between various genres of music from rap to pop-rock.
Dominic Fike starts off strong in his first track, “How Much is Weed?” He utilizes unique beats with layered vocals, and raps the later verses of the song. He immediately introduces the theme of childhood by using a metaphor of looking through a photo album. The album transitions into the second track, “Ant Pile,” one of three singles that had been released prior to the album drop. This track keeps up with the theme of youth while also introducing the theme of love – specifically first love – to the album.
Ant Pile Official Video | Credit: YouTube
The theme of love is then carried into the third track, “Think Fast.” The third song is the first of his sophomore album that is slows down and also stands out as the only track featuring another artist. The popular band Weezer accompanies Fike through lyrics detailing the insecurities and growing pains that accompany young love. Strong verses and a particularly powerful bridge are complemented by a guitar melody that builds throughout the song, leaving this track to be one of the most compelling songs included in “Sunburn.”
Tracks four and five further build on the theme of how beautiful but also how painful being in love truly can be. The fifth track, “7 Hours,” emphasizes this idea through longing lyrics in which Fike appears to be pleading with a partner to feel as strongly as he does.
Dominic Fike quickly changes gears in the sixth track, refocusing on the ups and downs of his past in “Dancing in the Courthouse.” As the first single released before his album drop, the song has already gained a fair amount of attention for the way in which Fike approaches such a serious topic in a more sarcastic manner. In this upbeat track, Fike addresses his tumultuous history with the law by acknowledging the time in which he served time in jail. The high-energy pace of this song accompanied by lighthearted lyrics leave the impression that Fike does not necessarily dwell on his past in a negative way but rather uses it as motivation to keep moving forward.
"Make the judge jump and hit the two-step/And make the jury come up with two guesses/And lose interest, then they make up a new sentence/Put 'em on trial/Make 'em dance for it in the courthouse."
The majority of the tracks featured in the second half of the album hone in on the experiences of Dominic Fike’s somewhat troubled childhood, and his own complicated sense of nostalgia for his youth. In the title track, “Sunburn,” Fike communicates a sense of confusion and disconnection with his growing fame. He reflects on his past with melancholy lyrics while still acknowledging that time and his career continue to move forward. Fike nods to many aspects of his troubled Florida childhood in this song, seemingly defending and grasping for the past through his longing tone. This track truly encapsulates the overarching theme of many of the songs on the album: that Fike has gotten to where he is today only because of what he has been through.
This track truly encapsulates the overarching theme of many of the songs on the album: that Fike has gotten to where he is today only because of what he has been through.
The final few tracks of this album continue to highlight these aspects of Dominic Fike’s life. Track 11, “4x4,” adopts a very distinct melancholy and nostalgic tone. A soft guitar melody is accompanied by lyrics in which Fike expresses a sense of pain and sadness for his fleeting childhood. His powerful lyrics address the feelings that are often faced upon growing up and having to face the harsh reality of everyday life.
"And the weight of your eyes and your face, when you cry/Make the days you were young, seem ages ago."
The fourteenth track of the album, “Dark,” is a raw and vulnerable testament to Fike’s own struggles with addiction. Dominic Fike has been open to various media outlets about his addiction, explaining that he was an addict and had a very serious drug problem while filming for the second season of Euphoria. Fike also mentioned that he was an addict for much of the creation of this album in an Instagram caption (view that post here,) posted following the release of the record: “Most of the songs I made in a house I rented in studio city. I lived alone with no furniture, just a studio, half a bed and a very whole addiction.” The song “Dark” can be seen as a piece of art that came from Fike’s own pain and struggle to get clean. The song is a testament to his own inner demons and a metaphor for the darkness that Fike still feels despite how far he has come in terms of his career.
Each track on this album works together to create a beautiful yet flawed portrait of Fike and his journey from a dysfunctional childhood in Southern Florida to the fame he now possesses. Never settling into a single genre or theme, Fike holds the attention of every listener through the ups and downs of his second album. The variation between complex vocals with fast-paced beats and slower, simplified guitar melodies keep the listener engaged, solidifying Dominic Fike’s position as a skilled artist.
However, this album goes much deeper than just music. It is a vulnerable, and at times heart-wrenching testament to the various emotions and experiences Dominic Fike has faced in his own life.
"Sunburn" is an album that celebrates both the beauty and the raw and real emotions that come with living in our society while also mourning the losses that we all face in growing up and losing the things we love.
Gianna Gallo is entering her sophomore year at the University of Florida. In her free time, Gianna can be found reading, writing, listening to nearly every genre of music, or binging the latest limited series on HBO Max.