Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Weeknd Thursday

The Weeknd's debut album/mixtape House of Balloons took the over-the-top literalism of singers like The-Dream and R. Kelly to a grittier and even more explicit world of sex, drugs, violence and, above all, self-pity. There was a noir-ish coat of regret and withdrawal comparable to fellow Torontonian Drake (who makes an appearance here on "The Zone"). That it was bolstered by singer Abel Tesfaye's angelic melisma and some of the most intricate production heard in R&B in a while was mere icing on the cake.

Its quick follow-up, Thursday, is not a disappointment, though it's hard to imagine many records standing up to the majesty—or novelty—of House of Balloons. On Balloons the star was Tesfaye's voice and chilling lyrics, but on Thursday he begins to recede into a haze of narcotic numbing and the piercing aural shrapnel of tinnitus frequencies. Rather than crystal-clear crooning, we get choirs of Tesfayes swirling and winding around elaborate, meandering songs. Opener "Lonely Star" takes thirty seconds of psychedelia to congeal into anything recognizable, but even then it feels like Tesfaye's voice is struggling to be heard amidst the cacophonous choir of drum machines, shrill guitar squalls and bursts of white noise. The result is a record that feels less immediate, but maybe more engrossing. readmore
Download The Weeknd Thursday

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