Khalid & Brasstracks – “Whirlwind”

blame it on Patrick Glynn December 22, 2016

We (at least me, but my job is to introduce, so I presume it’s the case for you, too) were introduced to Khalid this year, which you may want to remember a couple years down the road if the Texas native reaches his full potential.

Khalid’s soft melodies seem to be able to fit over any type of canvas, expanded by his latest effort, “Whirlwind,” a collaboration with Brasstracks for adidas originals’ Songs From Scratch series.

I was in Ireland last summer, and my uncle took me to the Cliffs of Mohr. They’re miles (or kilometers, if you’re pretty much anywhere but the U.S.) of cliffs and the first bit of European land you hit once you leave North America. The winds are hellish. It was raining when we got to the cliffs, then 20 minutes later it stopped. Then it started raining again, but not really, because it was the moisture the wind was pushing up the hundreds of feet up the cliffs and landing on tourists as if it were raining saltwater.

They tell you not to, once you have an opportunity when it’s not roped off, to hang your feet over the ledge, not only because it’s the obvious thing to not do, but because the wind is literally strong enough to pick someone up and fling them off the cliffs. (My grandma always tells me the story of my brother nearly getting taken away by the winds when he was 2. I’m not sure if she said it because she was scared or if she was disappointed they didn’t.)

There was a stretch where it was calm, then for another 30 feet, winds topped 30 miles an hour, and I had to put all my strength to move into the wind. Then it died. Then it picked up. Then it died. Then we left.

On “Whirlwind,” Khalid’s voice builds as Brasstracks’ production, which, as the producer’s name indicates, contains horns blaring full-throttle in unison with a backing band, pulsates over four minutes. Khalid details what it’s like to be in a relationship that whips like whirlwinds, and if it’s anything like the Cliffs, bless that man.