Review: Kid Quill — Sunset Diner

Sam Bull, Editor-in-Chief

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Sunset Diner: Indiana rapper Kid Quill’s fourth studio album, and a brilliantly crafted blast from the past. Quill finds a way to tie meaningful coming-of-age rap and personal experience to catchy pop tunes and an 80s vibe, resulting in a perfect set of tracks that capture exactly what it means to grow up. 

It’s the classic ode-to-the-hometown album, meaning that it’s kind of cheesy. With that being said, I will admit that some of these songs really spoke to me, and I’m sure they would speak to you as well. Although you’re probably not from Shelbyville, Indiana like he is, any average suburb could fit right into the story line and send your mind right back to those great memories.

There is so much to discuss in order to break down this album, so I will review some of his best and most influential tracks on this project. Bear with me here.

 

“Meet Me at Sunset”

To begin his album, Quill throws in piano and synthesizers to send you back into memorable times of limited responsibility and unlimited freedom. A formal-sounding woman is juxtaposed into the song right away, narrating the first minute or so to set the album’s vibe by referencing teenage-specific antics like blasting music and being irresponsible.

“They say an idle mind is the devil’s playground / Is that why you play the music so loud? / Sound so high you can’t think / lyrics so close to home you don’t blink / Is that why you play the music so loud? / Well, sit down. / I’ve got just the thing for you,” she says.

The title “Meet Me at Sunset” hints at budding romance, and the irresponsibility of running off to see this special person. Quill quickly jumps into his first verse, mentioning everything from cops to sneaking out after dark to a small lovesick suburban town… the whole shabang. 

The verse quickly concludes, and overlapping voices chant “meet me at sunset” on top of the synthesizers for the rest of the track, giving you time to think about your own memories. 

“Meet Me at Sunset” is a perfect intro song to set the vibe for the whole album. 8/10

 

“Wait Here” (feat. Allday & Rebecca & Fiona)

Quill features Australian rapper Allday and Swedish DJ duo Rebecca & Fiona on this track to produce a fantastic first-day-of-summer anthem. The vibe is care-free and rebellious—creating a connection to the teenage train of thought.

A repetitive electronic-style beat sets a fast-paced feel, and Quill adds to this in his first verse with lyrics that reflect positivity and memories of adolescence, like “got a smile so big that it’s hurtin’ my cheeks” and “they tryna make a hit I’m tryna make it hit home.”

In an interview with OnesToWatch, Quill gave a quick breakdown of what kind of feeling he wanted to display for the listener. 

“Sonically, this is the grittiest song out the 13 and it’s meant to stand for being defiant and rebellious. . . . I wanted the song to build on itself so when you got to the bridge it could feel like this big grandiose ‘breaking free’ moment,” Quill said.

A great summer song with a very catchy beat, but not quite as deep and meaningful as some other tracks in this project. 8/10

 

“Streetlights”

“Streetlights” is a track that focuses more on cars, and the feelings of getting away that comes with them. The part of this song that is so quintessential to the vibe of the album is the hook. Quill’s inner conscious tells him what to do in the form of an imaginary conversation with his car, persuading him to forget all of his worries and be free. 

“If this car could talk it’d tell me go now / Count the streetlights on the way out / Crack my window and play me too loud / And then grab the gas, and light the match / And burn this whole, don’t you turn ‘round,” the song goes.

The song concludes with the same formal-sounding British woman from “Meet Me at Sunset,” telling the listener that they have made it, and finally welcoming them to Sunset Diner.

This track has a great “getting away” feeling, and can really connect with the mind of teenagers. It’s pure poetry in motion; the vibe that this song gives off his hard to put into words. It’s that drop in your stomach and goosebumps on your neck when you realize that you are truly free. 8/10

 

“Jukebox”

Arguably the best song on the album, this song is equally full of energy and nostalgia. The repeated line in the chorus “make me feel like I’m in high school,” epitomizes exactly what the song and the entire album represents: youth. Quill throws in a little bit of everything, synthesizers to mimic 80s hits, a quick beat and lyrics to keep the energy high, and, most importantly, meaningful lyrics.

Quill talks about all the best parts of growing up: being rebellious, speeding around the town with your new car, playing hooky; generally just maybe not being as responsible as you could be. 

Quill even throws sound effects into the background like cheerleaders and police sirens to brilliantly paint the picture of high school and all the memories that come with it. 

Towards the end of the song, he slows it down and brings out a memory-inducing piano riff to almost portray the listener as older, not living through the good times but reflecting on them and being glad that it all happened.  10/10

 

“Flipside” [postlude]

While this is not necessarily a song, and Quill has none of his own lyrics involved with it, it still is a fantastic representation of the project’s vibe and Quill’s thoughts about music. 

The postlude. All 71 seconds of it, is a piano solo combined with a scene from the 1982 film “Diner” starring Ellen Barkin as Beth Schreiber and Daniel Stern as Laurence ‘Shrevie’ Shreiber.

In the scene, an obsessive Shrevie is scolding his wife, Beth, for putting a record back into the wrong storage category after listening to it. With all angry attitudes aside, the vibe of the postlude is, in a way, beautiful. Within their argument, Beth, obviously confused by why her husband is so upset about his records, asks a simple question: “Well who cares what’s on the flipside of a record?”

Shrevie then retorts almost psychotically his reason for loving music the way he does: the amount that there is to decipher. He explains that each record has so much of a story to it: the label, the producer, the year, the style, and what memories were made or thought of when listening to the song. 

The postlude highlights what music means to Quill, and to a lot of people across the world. It’s a representation that music is more than just sound; it’s art, and it’s memory in motion.  9/10

 

In sum, Quill does a fantastic job on this project to truly capture a nostalgic vibe about remembering the past, and a rebellious and care-free vibe about trying to feel young forever and always creating memories. 

You can only be young once, and Quill’s project reflects all the feelings, good or bad, that come with that roller coaster ride of an 18-or-so years. It’s hard to put all the feelings of growing up into words, but Quill’s music provides a bit more of clarification by creating a vibe that combines so many elements and truly makes the listener think about the wonders of being a kid.  9/10