Dominic Fike has released his debut album “What Could Possibly Go Wrong,” and while he has loads of potential as a musician, the album lacks creative risk and falls short of being impressionable.
Fike is a singer-songwriter and rapper from Florida known for his acoustic and genre-bending take on alternative pop music. He first gained attention for his single “3 Nights,” which garnered millions of online streams and resulted in a video collaboration with hip-hop collective Brockhampton.
Fike’s next big single would come the following year in the form of the track “Phone Numbers,” a collaboration with producer Kenny Beats. He gained more fame throughout the year by dropping more singles and through live performances, including a memorable performance at Tyler, the Creator’s Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival music festival.
Last month, on July 31, Fike released his long-awaited debut album “What Could Possibly Go Wrong,” a 34-minute long project made up of 14 relatively short tracks. While die-hard fans might enjoy the album, most listeners may find themselves disappointed by what Fike offers.
The album starts off with the brief but explosive track “Come Here,” where Fike provides passionate, scream-like vocals over a thundering electric guitar riff. Although “Come here” may only be over a minute long, it sets the bar high for the rest of the project.
Unfortunately, none of the remaining 13 tracks feature the same high octane energy as the opening track, but that doesn’t mean the album doesn’t have other bright moments.
The following track, “Double Negative (Skeleton Milkshake),” features some more great electric guitar instrumentation. Although the vocals may not be as loud or confrontational as the previous song, the rather low and droning vocal harmonies do well to juxtapose the fast-paced guitar riffs.
The song “Cancel Me” is one of the highlights of the album. Fike opens up about how tired he is of the Los Angeles party lifestyle and wishes he would get “canceled” so he could return to a quiet, stress-free life with his family.
In the track, Fike makes references to Jimmy Kimmel, claiming the late night host wouldn’t want to meet him. He also references the Kanye West track “No More Parties in LA,” and even gives a slight diss to Brockhampton.
The highlights become more scarce after this point. “10x Stronger” features great vocal harmonies singing a simple yet engaging melody and concludes with grandiose orchestral instrumentation. This track struck me as one of the most interesting on the album, despite there only being one full sentence of lyrics in it.
I expected it to evolve into something more with the string instruments, but it seems to be used as more of a transition song. It’s a shame, considering the potential that could’ve come out of the shortest track on the entire album.
One of the best songs on the album is “Vampire.” The beat is groovy, the guitar riff is bouncy and Fike’s vocals are deep and “blank.” It brings to mind an early 2000s Rob Thomas track. The song also displays some of the most entertaining lyrics on the album.
“I only showed up to tell you / That everyone at this party is a vampire / This ain’t red wine,” Fike sings as a warning to the listener.
The song “Superstar Sh*t” is one of the more mellow tracks on the album, and the lo-fi sound of the track pays off. The simple beat behind the high-tuned vocals make the song feel like it belongs in a “chill lo-fi beats to study to” compilation on YouTube, and in this regard it stands out.
The following track “Politics and Violence” continues the lo-fi theme and also features some brief orchestral instrumentation similar to “10x Stronger.” This song is one of the longer songs on the album, which makes sense as there is a slight beat change halfway through that keeps the listeners on their toes. This is another one of my favorite tracks and it’s surprising that this wasn’t picked as the lead single as opposed to the muddled and repetitive single “Chicken Tenders.”
Unfortunately, the album fails to impress considering the expectations Fike set for himself with his prior releases. Tracks like “Good Game” and “What’s For Dinner?” fail to set themselves apart as distinctive songs, and “Joe Blazey” has a beat switch but it doesn’t work nearly as well as the switch on “Politics and Violence.”
It seems like Fike is holding himself back. The album feels like he’s trying to play it safe because he is unsure who he wants to be as an artist. Or perhaps he does know but he’s afraid of showing his vision.
No matter what, what Fike does prove on “What Could Possibly Go Wrong” is that he has loads of potential. Not every track on the project is a hit, but the ones that are hits are impactful and display what he is capable of as a musician.
The album is only the first of what are hopefully many projects to come from the up-and-coming singer. Fike has plenty of time to learn, grow and improve on future records.