Dominic Fike ‘s Sunburn: A Sweltering and Candid Memoir Redefining Alt-Pop

Dominic Fike

Dominic Fike ‘s second album, Sunburn, is a captivating and introspective memoir that takes listeners on a sweltering journey through different moments of his life. The alt-pop purveyor first burst onto the scene with a collection of Soundcloud demos, recorded while he was on house arrest. The release of those songs while serving time in County Jail led to a record deal with Columbia Records, reportedly worth $4 million. Fike’s meteoric rise continued with collaborations alongside notable artists like Billie Eilish, Halsey, Paul McCartney, and Omar Apollo, as well as achieving a No. 1 hit on Billboard‘s Alternative song charts with his swaggering emo-pop track “3 Nights.”

In 2020, Fike released his first full-length album, What Could Possibly Go Wrong, showcasing his pop versatility, effortlessly blending R&B vocals, dance arrangements, and rap delivery. His talent also extended beyond music, as he landed a starring role in the second season of HBO’s ‘Euphoria,’ where he played a character that mirrored aspects of his own life.

However, after a whirlwind rise, Fike faced personal challenges, including a move to California and stints in rehab. It was during this time that he decided to turn his attention back to the place that shaped him: South Florida. Sunburn becomes a mesmerizing and fearless exploration of Fike‘s memories and experiences, unbound by traditional genre boundaries.

The album’s tracks reveal different facets of Fike’s artistry. In “Ant Pile,” he delves into a romantic tale, recounting first love against a backdrop of blistering, distorted guitar sounds. “What Kind Of Woman” showcases the depth of his vocals as he hits soulful high notes, accompanied only by an acoustic guitar.

Sunburn,” the title track, displays Fike’s rap talent as he opens up about his mother’s time in jail and the symbolic and literal heat of growing up in the scorching conditions of South Florida. Collaborating with California indie mainstay Weezer on “Think Fast,” Fike embraces pop rock, delivering poignant lyrics with the exact articulation reminiscent of Rivers Cuomo on “Undone – The Sweater Song.”

On “Dancing In The Courthouse,” a co-production with his frequent collaborator Kenny Beats, Fike defiantly laughs in the face of obstacles, advocating for dancing in front of judges as a cathartic act. Rising walls of sound reinforce his optimistic belief that love can keep the world spinning, and even gods can become friends by cursing them.

Dominic Fike Sunburn

Throughout the 14 tracks, Sunburn encapsulates not only the chaotic liberation of Florida’s sunshine, but also the heartbreak, addiction, and disarray that accompanied Fike’s time there. It serves as a love letter to his hometown, allowing Fike to return not only to the relentless humidity but also to rediscover his true self amidst the tangled memories.

Fike’s recent comments about the inspiration behind Sunburn reveal a deep affection for the free-spirited and sensual aura of Florida, where people embrace tan lines and live carefree lives. However, the album goes beyond the surface, delving into the complexities and challenges of the artist’s life, culminating in a soul-baring reflection of his past while pointing towards a promising future. Sunburn stands as a compelling and intimate testament to Dominic Fike‘s artistic growth and authenticity.

Listen to the full album here: