Released: November 25, 2016
Abél Tesfaye, better known as The Weeknd, only just skyrocketed high these past two years with extremely infecting pop–R&B tunes that I’m pretty sure has already hit number one in various countries around the world. So, in order to match this success, he belts out yet another conceptual record, an intriguing introduction to Starboy. This title comes after pushing yet another hit, the electronic-driven title track with the iconic group Daft Punk, but this time he sets his eyes, yet again, on commercial-based songs that delves into several darker themes that was first emphasized on her previous album Beauty Behind the Madness.
Opening with the title track, the record further pushes into more progressive R&B tunes such as the steamy “Party Monster”, an almost 80s-inspired rhythm of “False Alarm” and “Secrets”, and a return to classic hip-hop riffs with the slow-jam “Reminder”. The great things that I find about these tracks is that, whilst its moving into different styles, it all sounds collective and represents a portion of the first-half of Starboy quite well. But my favourite moment is the agile-groove anthem “Rockin’”, a seductive blend of house elements and the quintessential Weeknd synth, and even the slick electro-jam “Love to Lay” highlights his voice and sound even more.
But when moments like “A Lonely Night”, the autotuned-infected “Sidewalks” (featuring Kendrick Lamar), “I Feel it Coming” and “Nothing Without You” are definitely strong points that accentuate the records retro-electro moments, the rest of Starboy sound like recycled recordings from other better and bigger moments on the first half. For example, I found that tracks “Attention” and “All I Know” (featuring Future) are quite weak in comparison, but also sound like outtakes from his first two records, while “Die for You” has a similar dated production state like mid-2000s Motorola phones. And even though the Starboy interlude with American singer Lana Del Rey is interesting, the overall appeal is pretty mehh.
So… what’s my verdict on this shiny, darker and more serious vibe of Starboy? Well of course, despite its flaws and skippable points, the record actually showcases another knock-out smash for The Weeknd. It’s a lot sleeker and cohesive then Beauty Behind the Madness, despite that record having a bit more inspired and varied results. It also showcases pretty collective yet great vocals and song writing by the artist, who sure knows how to punch hard when it comes to massive smash hits. Get em’ hard Weeknd.
Track list (Bold means best tracks)
- Starboy (feat. Daft Punk) ~Liam’s favorite~
- Party Monster
- False Alarm
- True Colors
- Stargirl Interlude (feat. Lana Del Rey)
- Sidwalks (feat. Kendrick Lamar)
- Six Feet Under
- Love to Lay
- A Lonely Night
- Ordinary Life
- Nothing Without You
- All I Know (feat. Future)
- Die for You
- I Feel it Coming (feat. Daft Punk)