Dominic Fike’s “Sunburn”

Dominic Fike’s Sunburn is the Hottest Album You’ll Listen to This Year

Sunburn is a breezy memoir that pays homage to the neighborhood that shaped Fike today. Photo courtesy of Daniel Prakopcyk.

Sunburn by Dominic Fike is a reminiscent love letter to Fike’s adolescence in Naples, Florida. Throughout the 39 minutes and 13 seconds of the album, Fike intimately grapples with growth, love, drug addiction, time in prison, and the evolution of life and death of those around him. 

This is his second and longest album, following What Could Possibly Go Wrong in 2020, and his 2018 EP, Don’t Forget About Me, Demos. One thing Fike is notorious for is producing short songs that average about two-and-a-half-minutes, constantly leaving fans wanting more. 

The most popular track, “Mona Lisa,” is featured in the film SpiderMan Across the Spider-Verse when Miles (Spider-Man) and Gwen (Spider-Woman) swing over buildings together while catching up. This gradual upbeat love song ranked number 89 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 list. The song demonstrates Fike’s ability to give a girl the space she needs, yet he sees her everywhere and can’t stop thinking about her, expressing a desire to give her all of him. 

The title track of the album demonstrates a great depiction of Fike’s story on the life that happened and changed around him in his beloved hometown while his mother was in and out of prison, to Fike himself eventually going to jail for assaulting a police officer in 2016.

“Mama went to jail, we was hungry, I’m on this music (What?)

Everyone grew up and got comfy, I’m on this music (What?), dawg

Who you call when you don’t got the money for school at all?

Mama cryin, thinkin’ ’bout one day how we gon’ lose it all

I would die before that happened, I’m pickin’ the strap up before you pickin’ my slack up, baby”

My favorite track from the album is “Ant Pile.” The guitar riff in the intro immediately draws me in. It’s unique because Fike is sharing a vulnerable story about growing up, admiring this girl, going through the beauty and ugliness of puberty, and accepting that he’s starting to feel innocent love for the first time. The lyrics “I’ve seen you fall to pieces / Seen you completely naked / There’s no more ways you can surprise me” demonstrates the raw acceptance of each other’s bodies through these awkward times. I love how the lyrics read like a story throughout the verses and you can envision their story, no matter how bizarre getting tied to an ant pile sounds. 

Young Dominic Fike (left) found a bond over music with his younger brother Alex (ALX, right) in their beloved Naples home. Photo courtesy of Dominic Fike.

Despite remaining unfamiliar to some, Fike is establishing himself as a household name through collaborations with artists such as Paul McCartney and Justin Bieber. On this album, he teams up with the rock band Weezer for “Think Fast,” showcasing his versatility across genres—rock, rap, and pop—and making it challenging to confine him to a single category.

“Those times we shared, they’re yours alone

And when I’m dead, we’ll all go home

They’ll cry, they’ll sing, then leave this place

This place to me was everything” 

Although the singer is only 27 years old, it’s interesting how much he speaks about death in “Think Fast” and throughout the album. Not just physical death, but the loss of his childhood roots, which have become faded memories. With this newfound reputation, he was able to reflect on his neighborhood through different lenses in this memoir. Fike is fully aware he’ll never be the person he was before acquiring fame, and even displays uncertainty about where he’s at now. However, it’s evident that he knows where he wants to be at the end of his life; right back underneath the Florida sun. 

Julie Marasco

Julie Marasco is a 21-year-old journalism major at SUNY New Paltz, originally from Oceanside, New York. She previously copyedited for an internship at The Culture We Deserve. Having been published in WFNP, The Teller Magazine and The Poodle on campus, she hopes to become an editor or a writer with a beat in arts and entertainment.

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