Admittedly, Dominic Fike is a can’t-miss king. From music to TV and film, the Florida indie-rap crooner is an anamoly of talent hidden in plain sight.
Sharing his sophomore LP, Sunburn, on Friday (July 7), Fike returns to the mic two years after pursuing other endeavors, like his role as Elliot in HBO’s hit series Euphoria. Yet, he hasn’t lost momentum. Holding 14 tracks, a Weezer feature and additional vocals from Remi Wolf, the album also includes “Mona Lisa” — which was a part of Metro Boomin’s curation for the Spider-Man: Across The Spider-Verse soundtrack. The record’s three lead singles, “Mama’s Boy,” “Ant Pile” and “Dancing In The Courthouse,” were just a taste of the singer’s fully realized evolution.
Sunburn is the polished, final product of previous full-length efforts in WCPCW and Don’t Forget About Me Demos. It’s raw, honest songwriting is complemented by eclectic instrumentation and experimental production choices. Mixing psychadelic rock, traveler pop, alternative, electro-R&B and hip-hop, Sunburn’s hodge podge of summertime anthems reaches fever pitch in hits like “7 Hours,” “4×4,” “Frisky” and “Dark.”
These efforts are the epitome of Fike’s undeniable talents on every side of the spectrum — unable to be tied down to a singular sonic requisite. Considering how deeply he’s looking inward, Dom sounds done trying to be anything but himself — evidently freeing him from the creative shackles he’s tied himself to. Whether he’s speaking on past addictions, rehabs, prison and trauma with his parents, it remains rudderless and unbound. Sunburn is Dominic Fike’s magnum opus for all the right reasons.
“I have been recording songs every day, or writing them. Every time I make a song, I feel like it’s my best song. It’s hard not to want to put it out as soon as you make it. I think a lot of artists will feel me when I say that.”Dominic Fike to Apple Music’s Zane Lowe
Narratives of internal struggle and striving for better days bleed all over the LP, as Fike’s final single sounds straight out of David Bowie’s discography — a slow-burning psych-rock cut that sees him contemplate life-long conflicts with his mother. Comparing her love to that of their vacation home in Italy, Dom wishes he were a “toy” so that his mother would pay more attention to him. “How do my plans fit in with yours / You’re such a doll and I’m a boy / They like vacation home / Much more than they love me,” he drones off with a stutter, using “Mama’s Boy” as a metaphor for urgency to go out on his own, despite being fearful of leaving home.
Sitting aside a literal ant pile growing in sand and size, Sunburn’s second lead single was as infectious as its first — continuing a string of summertime rock-pop that feels born-ready for radio play. A master of feel-good sounds, Fike’s raspy yet transportive vocals saunter in between a mean electric guitar kick, punchy live drums and a riser that mimics the excitement of jumping into a pool.
“Dancing In The Courthouse” is more of a carefree campfire anthem compared to “Antpile’s” 2000’s backyard kickback. “But we make the ground our grave by layin’ in it / We make our problems fade by facin’ em / We make the wind our wings by raisin’ our arms / On top of the world,” Fike sings with raw emotion, as the track’s versatility — touting shrill background vocals and warbly bass notes courtesy of longtime collaborator Kenny Beats — creates an atmosphere that hits home. The visual for “Dancing In The Courthouse” depicts Fike in his native Florida silhouetting a slew of places — featuring the walks of life that inhabit it.
It’s hard to believe Fike is as prolific as he is with just a trio of records under his belt. His last was his official debut, What Could Possibly Go Wrong, in 2020. While impressively genre-fluid, 2018’s Don’t Forget About Me Demos and “3 Nights” still define Fike’s greatest heights as an artist. Garnering co-signs from Drake to Paul McCartney (“Kiss Of Venus”), evidence of his generational star status is found everywhere. Performances at Coachella and Lollapalooza led in his forthcoming “Don’t Stare At The Sun Tour,” which is set to visit 27 cities over the course of July and August.
There’s no sound Dom can’t make his own, as Sunburn is a warmly-wrapped masterpiece for the Florida-born phenom. This is Fike front and center.
Listen to “Sunburn” below!