Monday, May 21st, 2018

The Weeknd uncovers the dark side of R&B on ‘Thursday’

Posted on September 02, 2011 in Album Reviews
By Nick Capeless

XO

With his first two mix tapes,  Abel Tesfaye, better known as The Weeknd, has proven that even though he’s young, and has only played two live shows so far, he can still manage to generate a huge buzz behind his music.

“Thursday,” the second of a planned trilogy for The Weeknd, has arrived on computers across North America, being released for free as a digital download. “Thursday” follows the extremely well received debut “House of Balloons,” which was nominated for a Polaris Music Prize and established The Weeknd as a new and powerful artist.  With this new found fame he’s been able to work with many big name artists including fellow Canadian hip-hop/R&B artist Drake,  who contributed a guest verse on the album. Sonically, the album is a perfect sequel to his debut, as The Weeknd has created his own take on traditional R&B music and absolutely mastered it with tracks so dark, sexy and haunting that it’s hard not to feel like you’re on a journey though Tesfaye’s own fantasy world.

On album stand out “Life of the Party,” he presses a young woman to be more experimental, be it with her use of drugs or sex (or both). “Welcome to the other side/ You’re lost/Baby step outside your mind,” he croons over a beat that’s a little more bouncy and upbeat than the rest of his work, but still drum heavy as usual, and perfectly capable of conveying the image of a life of experimentation and seduction.

Another highlight of the album, a track which was released prior to its release, is “The Birds, Part 1.” With deep synths, a prominent drum roll backing some of the most confident lyrics The Weeknd has to offer, it isn’t terribly surprising when Tesfaye warns “Now don’t you fall in love/ Don’t make me make you fall in love.” The bold track has Tesfaye warning women that he’s not the type of man for real relationships, despite how much they’ll want it after just one night.

While there are plenty of current artists trying bring back the feeling of old school R&B/soul music, The Weeknd goes in a decidedly different direction, and take the general feel and content of R&B, such as themes of lust, sadness and excess, but adds a new and highly inventive flair.  With a confidence found mostly in hip-hop and rock artists, The Weeknd creates dark R&B that is sure to find massive success and countless imitators. Fans will surely be on the lookout for The Weeknd’s next album of the trilogy “Echoes of Silence,” due sometime this fall.

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