Sunday, April 23rd, 2017

Album Review: Starboy offers fresh style and incredible variety

Posted on January 22, 2017 in Arts & Culture
By USM Free Press

By Dan Kilgallon, Free Press contributor

Released on November of last year, Starboy is the latest album from Canadian singer/songwriter Abel Tesfaye, better known as The Weeknd. This marks The Weeknd’s third studio album for a major label, following the 2013 Kiss Land and the 2015 Beauty Behind the Madness. The latter was particularly successful and became a number one album on the U.S. Billboard 200, with tracks “The Hills” and “Can’t Feel my Face” each reaching the top of the charts as singles.

The Weeknd’s Starboy may not be quite as great as his breakthrough album from last year, but is still a very good follow-up for the artist. He took his signature style of R&B and seamlessly blended it with a few different genres, including hip-hop, funk and rock. Even if Starboy leans more towards mainstream pop in a few songs, credit must be given to The Weeknd for moving in a new direction with his music style.

The eighteen-track album features quite a few love songs, with the themes of partying and drug use sprinkled throughout its hour-plus runtime. Each song offers a different take on these subjects and appeal to the ears in its own way.

The vocals on this album are as impressive as ever, as the singer clearly shows his wide range on this album. Even more impressive are the catchy beats that accompany the lyrics. Some of the electronic instrumentals seem to pay homage to the classics of R&B/Pop genre, so it is hardly a surprise that  The Weeknd has explicitly cited artists like Michael Jackson and Prince as some of his primary inspirations. The nostalgic feeling that accompanies some of these songs makes the album worth a listen.

This album is more than just a showcase for The Weeknd, as Starboy features several other talented artists, including Daft Punk, Future and Lana Del Ray. Kendrick Lamar also shows off some impressive verses in the catchy hit “Sidewalks.”

The opening and closing tracks feature Daft Punk, which are the most popular songs on the album. The opener and title song, “Starboy,” is one of the best tracks on  the album. The underlying darkness of the song is coupled with an undeniably catchy chorus and some impressive lyrical work from The Weeknd.

Certainly, some of the best tracks on this album are the ones that include those other artists. Nonetheless, The Weeknd’s Starboy is a very good album that offers fresh style and good variety to the already impressive output of this incredibly talented artist.