Dominic Fike uncovers his life in fame with first studio album


By Jamie O'Toole, Columnist

Diving into his first studio album after mere demo tapes that impressed the industry enough to nail him a solid multi-million record deal early in his career, Dominic Fike delivers a rebuttal against fame, an inside look into how washed up he’s become by it in “What Could Possibly Go Wrong,” released Friday. 

Following Fike’s first appearance with “Don’t Forget About Me Demos,” released in 2018, many called him an industry plant. His songs tend to lack introspection, and instead explore his observations in messy relationships and of people. It’s for that reason many critics assumed, with his instantly gratifying record deal and unpolished demos that he made while on house arrest, he was an industry plant an experiment managers could manipulate into singing what’s radio worthy and will make them millions. 

But his anti-pop fluidity only led him to a large and loyal fan base. His new album, though still rarely introspective, is covered in hidden metaphorical easter eggs that mean something to him. The lyrics are poetic and only leave more questions about the quizzical artist.  

While many songs exposed the blinding lights of fame on this album, Fike included a song on the album titled “Joe Blazey,” the name of his manager at his record label, Columbia. 

“Joe Blazey, when you met me, I was/Scared, baby, look how fast I’m goin’.”

Many rappers and musicians have called out the industry and how brainwashing it all can be for a newbie, but Fike sent shots specifically to his manager who picked him up and led him to the success he thought he wanted but all became too much. 

“I’m goin’ dark mode,” he sings, “Just know I’m not proud of everything I did so far/But I do it all for you/Sike.”

In this dark place he points fingers and tries to find when it all went wrong and who’s responsible. Fike was very vocal about his panic attacks and doubts for the success of this album because critics were waiting for him to drown, but nobody wanted this more than him. He did this because of Blazey, who gave him the pen to sign up for this structure, but nobody wrote their signature and created his sound but him. 

He’s regretful, almost, but living the life he wanted. 

“What’s it like being famous?,” he sings, talking to himself in “Good Game”, “Do you remember my name, huh?” 

Since becoming a super star Fike barely recognizes himself. With this track, he rubbed what critics worried about in their faces, by talking to himself instead of examining his conscious thoughts and feelings clearly for the world to understand him. Fike is a mysteriously likeable star who tends to leave the meaning of his lyrics for those on the inside, and pushes listeners to ponder what he’s trying to convey. 

Though many eyes are on him at all times, it’s not always clear who he’s speaking to or about in his songs, or even their relation to him. Although it makes it harder for some listeners to see themselves in the lyrics and feel understood, which is why many turn to music, it establishes a middle ground between Fike and his career. It in no way makes him an easier mold for the industry to morph into whatever they want him to sing. It allows him to keep himself open only for those he wishes and closed to people he describes as vampires. 

“Everyone at this party’s a vampire,” he sings in his song “Vampire,” “This ain’t red wine/Can you feel the weight of the eyes on your neck?” A bloodsucking vampire symbolizes managers and important individuals and maybe other artists in the music industry at a party. They prey on someone like Fike, and will leave him lifeless and unrecognizable, leaving him with nothing after they drain him for their own check and success. 

The order of “What Could Possibly Go Wrong” could’ve been a bit different, as some songs belonged after others in terms of what related to each other and carried a subject better, but perhaps the best thing about this album is the choice of the beginning song and end song. 

“Come Here” is the first song on the album. Fike sings, “So why can’t you tell me/What you think I should do?/Baby, come here/I get so lonely at night”. It introduces the tone of the album effortlessly, and shortly. The song is only a minute and reminiscent of rock music — a style many weren’t expecting after pressing the first song. Fike is almost at a loss in his career — alone and unsure of what to do, and we find out exactly why in later songs. 

The album ends with a song called “Florida,” where he grew up in Miami. It’s his roots, his home, his comfort before he became THE Dominic Fike and felt so alone, drained of his own blood and reaching to the top of the mountain so quickly that he wants to come down but can’t. 

Though the recurring symbol on Fike’s album is still unknown, the isolated mountain with a gloomy overcast above encapsulates the feeling of fame: this large mountain Fike must climb in order to feel accomplished, but it’s dark and completely separate from the world. 

So, what could possibly go wrong with becoming famous, or the next big thing in music? Mental health and everything in between, but Fike keeps doing him, and leaves everyone wanting more and craving information about him that he leaves out with every project he releases. 

“I hope they cancel me/So I can go be with my family/So I can quit wearin’ this mask, dawg,” he says in his song “Cancel Me.”