The Weeknd is here to stay.
The Weeknd is one of the most transformative artists of his generation, going from a shy, private performer, to a powerhouse superstar seemingly overnight; with a smooth falsetto voice that seemingly glides over the ear drums and dark, sexual, drug-fueled subject matter that feels like a mix between Michael Jackson and R. Kelly. His newest project comes a little over a year off of his breakout album Beauty Behind the Madness, and with it, some big changes are made both sonically and characteristically. The introduction of the Starboy character is scattered throughout the album but never really hits what it seemed to be aiming for, but more on that later.
The album starts off with the title track and a Daft Punk feature (!) and launches into what could be a very mediocre and/or plain album, but what comes is an incredibly vibrant and often mature sounding album. The first three tracks on the album all released as singles and feel a little boring, but as the end of track three rounds about (“False Alarm”) and segues into track four (“Reminder”) the album switches into high gear and feels seamless. The songs pack a harder punch, feel more pop (not in a bad way) and just really showcase The Weeknd’s vocal range as well as beat selection. Specifically ” Rockin'” and “Secrets” grab your attention and feel like nothing he’s ever done before yet he sounds comfortable, it’s remarkable.
Where Starboy succeeds tremendously is in the middle portion, with the bookend portions feeling out of sync with the rest
of the album. These sections of the project are assumingly taken over by the Starboy persona, considering the subject matter feels dark and the beats sound more keen to the Hip-Hop realm. The ideas on these songs feel incomplete and because of that they kind of fall flat, except for the last track which features yet another Daft Punk feature, and is destined to be a hit.
Is the album perfect? No. Is it perfectly compiled? No. But, it has some of the best tracks The Weeknd has ever made, and it feels so different. Fans have been clamoring for the Trilogy version of The Weeknd to make a return ever since his debut dropped. He’s never coming back, and that’s a good thing.
Standout tracks: Rockin’, Secrets, Stargirl Interlude (feat. Lana Del Rey), Sidewalks (feat. Kendrick Lamar), Six Feet Under, A Lonely Night, Ordinary Life, Die For, I Feel It Coming (feat. Daft Punk).