Still truthful, still honest, still dark in ways
By Daryl Lim
I came across The Weeknd in 2011 as a recommendation from a good friend based in Toronto. Initially, I had my reservations, considering my taste in R&B was more into neo-soul, very soulful, laidback, jazzy. When I gave The Weeknd’s first mixtape, the legendary in R&B circles “House of Balloons,” I was hooked. It was raw, expressive, and dark, definitely nothing like we’ve ever experienced. Here we were, being treated to a sonic movement that was so honest, I couldn’t personally fathom how he would be able to outdo the quality of “House of Balloons”. Fast forward to two more mixtapes and two albums later, and we come across to the mainstream equal of “House of Balloons”.
“Starboy” leads off with the title track, a midtempo, danceable ditty that gives us Abel Tesfaye in full braggadocio. Cocky and honest, he throws us into the reality of who he is today; the bad ass who can out swag even the swaggiest, all without the need to do so. “Party Monster” sees the XO Records figurehead trying to seduce a woman to come home with him even if he doesn’t know her name. Another standout track, “Sidewalks,” features another emblematic figure in Kendrick Lamar. K-Dot offers another strong guest verse that parallels Abel’s tough upbringing in Toronto with his hard surroundings of Compton in California. On the album’s second collaboration with French electronic music giants Daft Punk, “I Feel It Comin’” sees Abel seranading a lady by making her believe in the purity of what he really wants: love and sincerity, a track which, most likely, is dedicated to his girlfriend, model Bella Hadid. Another great track is “Reminder,” a track that speaks of his true background and the truth in his songs, loudly wondering how a track about drugs won him a Nickelodeon Teen’s Choice Award.
big thanks to all the fans and the collaborators on this album. it was such an honor : https://t.co/LZqp1rXcLN
— The Weeknd (@theweeknd) November 25, 2016
Is the album as good as House of Balloons? To be honest, none of his work compares to it. “House of Balloons” was perfection for the time it came out, but, like the namesake of this album, “Starboy” is the lighter version of it. Still truthful, still honest, still dark in ways, this album is in a place of its own. To not sound like everyone else, Abel Tesfaye has done a great job still being who he is: a man who makes honest music. It might not cater to the hardcore fan anymore, considering how commercial his sound has now become, but, lyrically, is still the same old Abel, just delivered under the sparkling shine of commercial production.
Check out the official music video below and let us know what you think in the comments!