The Weeknd for Weeks (“Starboy” Album Review)

So I’m perhaps late to say how amazing the music of The Weeknd AKA Abel Tesfaye is, but that is not going to stop me from writing this entry. Especially since his newest album, Starboy, was released into the world exactly 1 week ago.  I chose to wait exactly 1 week before writing a review about this album because I didn’t want to be too hasty with my judgement so for exactly 1 week straight, I listened to this album to see how I felt about it. But before I go into my critique of the album, I’d like to essentially fanboy over this musician that I’m honored to say, is the songbird of MY generation.

I first heard the song, Can’t Feel My Face, on the radio last year and I’m not going to lie, I didn’t like it at first, but it grew on me. Then I heard In The Night, again on the radio, and unlike the first one, this one I fell in love with instantly. The lyrics, the beat of the music, his voice at the end when he sing/screams “she” while the chorus plays in the background, oh! It’s magical.

However, it wasn’t until October, that when I heard the song, Starboy on the radio that I finally started looking into more of his songs. And what I discovered, changed my life forever.Don’t even get me started on The Hills, I could go on and on about how perfect that song is at capturing the moment almost every man has ever been in at one point in their life.  I literally could not stop listening to The Weeknd’s music. There’s a phrase among people my age where they say “[blank] for days” to mean something in a great abundance. That would be the perfect way to describe my musical mood for The Weeknd, however what started as days, soon turned into weeks.

I just couldn’t get enough of this guy’s music. And like most artists’ music that I become obsessed with, I tried to dig deep into this artist’s profile. I still don’t know much about him except that it’s safe to say, he’s a troubled soul (which would explain much of his music) and thus, explains why he’s such an amazing artist. His voice alone, which everyone agrees sounds like Michael Jackson’s voice, is just the cherry on top of this amazing sundae that is his musical style. It’s like he’s essentially the uncut version of Michael Jackson and Prince (may they rest in peace).

The fact that his mix-tapes alone, with songs like Lonely Star and Wicked Games posess so much raw emotion and talent; and he was only 21 at the time, make it that his claim to fame is long overdue. And also should inspire other people at a young age to work hard and they can achieve greatness, but of course, you also have to have a special talent. Let’s not rule that out. Nevertheless, his mainstream success with his 2015 album, Beauty Behind The Madness made him known all over the world and still at a young age, 24. I’d love to go into detail of the songs he’s released prior to Starboy but I feel like I’ve gone on more of a tangent than I initially planned.

I was really excited for this album to come out and when it finally did. I feel like I may have gotten my hopes up a little too high. There were a number of tracks that I just couldn’t get into and some that had to grow on me before I appreciated them.

Because I’m still a fan of The Weeknd and because he knows way more about music than I do, not to mention, he’s still fairly new to the whole “fame” scene so a lot of pressure is being put on the guy. Therefore, I’m not going to rip into his gizzards like most critics or condemn his ability to make excellent music. Most of these are feelings I would normally soliloquize but because I’ve got nothing else better to do… yeah… So anyways, it’s clear that The Weeknd was trying to go in a new direction with this album and experiment (probably) with different styles of music, some which worked, and others in my opinion, would have been better if he didn’t attempt it. I still encourage everyone to check out this album and who knows? Maybe you’ll disagree with me but one thing that is inarguable, is that The Weeknd is an incredibly talented musician. He brings actual emotion and soul that most of the music being played on the radio, has been needing badly.

1. ) “Starboy” My goodness! What a gem! The fact that this song features Daft Punk, is just the beginning reason as to why this song is so great. Especially considering that the song seems so trivial when you think about it, but with the chorus being so catchy, along with Abel’s comical use of certain lyrics like “main bitch outta your league too…Side bitch outta your league too”, you can’t help but want to listen to it over and over again. Of course, there is a significant meaning to this song. In that Abel has realized how famous he has become and in the music video, where The Weeknd “kills his former-self”, destroys his trophies and burns his house down, shows the deep feeling of insecurity that comes from achieving fame in that nothing is and will ever be good enough.

2.) “Party Monster” The way my girlfriend described this song, was it made her want to drink a Sprite.And now when listening to this song, all I can picture is The Weeknd singing this song to a girl he’s wooing at the club with the sharp green glow of a Sprite bottle on the table in the background.

3.) “False Alarm” This song should never have been made a single. That’s probably the meanest thing I will say about the song. Another critic said something way worse about the song. I mean some people may appreciate the song but I just don’t deem it Mp3 Worthy (not something you’d want to listen to over and over again).

4.) “Reminder” This is one of the songs that grew on me. After careful consideration, I would say that this song is like the sequel to the song “Tell Your Friends”.It’s got a good rhythmic beat to it and is a great song to drive to. He makes a point to mention the irony of how he won an award on Nickelodeon for his song, Can’t Feel My Face, a song about cocaine. I’m condemning Nickelodeon for not being able to read between the lines and parents for allowing their kids to listen to that song. It’s a good song! I’m just saying, what’s the point in putting a “Parental Advisory” sticker on albums if they’re not going to be taken into consideration.

5.) “Rockin'” A very Funky/Techno and peppered with Boogie kind of a beat. Couldn’t really get into this one, to be honest.

6.) “Secrets” is my personal favorite. It seems like the different route that The Weeknd was trying to take when compiling his new album finally hit a success (in my opinion) with this song. He’s definitely trying something new but it works and is very jumpy and you can’t help but want to dance to it. Even if you can’t dance at all! (like me)

7.) “True Colors” Yeah, I couldn’t really get into this one.

8.) “Stargirl (Interlude) (feat. Lana Del Ray)” Lana Del Ray ruined this song. It sounded like she was whining/screaming in this song. I don’t particularly care for female singers so I am most likely being biased but I had to really push myself to listen to this song from start to finish.

9.) “Side-Walks (feat. Kendrick Lamar)” Okay I lied, this is probably the rudest thing I’m about to say about the album. My reaction to this song was ‘Oh, Kendrick Lamar is gonna be on here, how awesome! Two talented musicians on one song (moments later) wtf?! Is The Weeknd singing in auto-tune? Okay, maybe it’s temporary…it’s not?!’  The thing with auto-tune is that it’s meant for people that can’t sing so that it can help them sing better. Here’s the thing, The Weeknd CAN sing! Beautifully! So whoever’s idea it was to have The Weeknd sing in auto-tune needs to be slapped with both sides of the hand. (Unless it was The Weeknd who decided it, instead he just needs to have a firm talking to).

10.) “Six Feet Under” Another song that had to grow on me. It’s different from his usual songs about ‘poppin’ pills, fuckin’ bitches’ (“Tell Your Friends”) and is more about a powerful, hardworking woman who is willing to die before she lets her goals/dreams slip away.  The song is a job well done by Abel. Oh, and Future provides backing vocals towards the end which, is okay, I guess.

11.) “Love to Lay” At first listen, this song seemed to be in homage to the old 90’s boy bands like N’Sync and Backstreet Boys. Also, this song has a repeating chorus which can get pretty old, but I enjoy it. It’s not, arguably, the best song on the album, but is a much better job done than “Rockin'” and “True Colors”.

12.) “A Lonely Night” Reverting back to my earlier statement about how The Weeknd sounds a lot like Michael Jackson; this song sounds like “Smooth Criminal” meets “Billie Jean”. The end result, is a hit song with a smooth beat and killer vocals.

13.) “Attention” I couldn’t really get into this song. It’s a good song to listen to every now and again but again, not Mp3 worthy.

14.) “Ordinary Life” Another one of my personal favorites. Despite that this song also repeats the title of the song in the chorus, I allowed an exception for this one because the verses used in the song prior to the chorus were albeit graphic, well composed. Listening closely to the song’s opening verse is set to where Abel is driving in his car while simultaneously receiving oral sex from a girl and essentially if the car crashes, he’s aware that his after-life will not be promising and the chance for repentance is useless because the famous lifestyle of “sex, drugs, and rock & roll” will not allow him to.

15.) “Nothing Without You” a song that definitely had to grow on me. The song is okay at best. I was already getting annoyed by so many of the songs that had the chorus just being the names of the title of the songs just repeated over and over again. And this one was no different but thankfully, it had a good enough rhythm to keep me interested.

16.) “All I know (feat. Future)” Unlike “Ordinary Life” where the song title is the chorus being repeated over and over again, this one wasn’t successful. I also didn’t care for Future’s verse in the song. The song just wasn’t for me.

17.) “Die For You” For fans of The Weeknd that were expecting the album to be like Beauty Behind the Madness, this song is dedicated for them. It definitely sounds like something he wrote a long time ago and decided to save for a special time. I’m not too crazy about the song, personally but I won’t deny it’s ability to grow on you just like it did with me.

18.) “I Feel It Coming” Feat. Daft Punk the beat and the rythm of this song bears the same formulaic pattern as Pharell’s “Get Lucky” with (coincidentally) Daft Punk only this one has the entire title of the song repeated as the chorus which, again, was my main issue with the entire album. I was frankly dissappointed with this song because the duo had created such a gem with the song “Starboy” but, you win some you lose some.

All in all, I’m not going to grade this album because that’d be ridiculous. Who am I to say if the album sucked or not. Personally, I think the album was great but was not how I was expecting it to be. And when you ask me what I WAS expecting it to be, I would say more songs like “Starboy” but that would only appease me and his other fans who probably enjoyed every track of the album would be disappointed. I didn’t read a lot of the reviews on this album cause I wanted to have my own opinion but in a majority of music reviews in general, that I’ve read, Critics can be unbelievably cruel. I hope that The Weeknd won’t be discouraged if he reads this review  (which I strongly doubt he will) and I hope his fans will stay loyal to him, just as I will.

Look what you’ve done…I’m a motherf*ckin’ Starboy!

-Mr. Writer

Written on the 1st of December, 2016 at 12:15 P.M.

 

 

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