Weeknd, the project of Toronto's crooner Abel Tesfaye, bursts on the stage
of high-tech soul music with a trilogy of mixtapes
produced by Doc McKinney and Illangelo.
The nine ballads of House of Balloons (2011), with the exception of the
one uptempo number, House of Balloons (also the standout), succeed best when
the soundscape upsets the narrative
(as in the seven-minute The Party & the After Party), when the sounds create
contradictory textures (What You Need) and when the
choreography prevails over the
Coupled with Tesfaye's stories of sex and drugs
(Wicked Games in particular),
the music actually hints at
an acute state of loneliness.
The sense of loneliness rules reigns supreme over the psychological gems of
The Zone and Rolling Stone. Alas, the frequency of convincing hooks had
Echoes of Silence (2011)
indulged in depravity for the sake of provoking
(Initiation, XO / The Host):
when a pop star runs out of ideas, all he has to do to keep being talked about
is to insult everybody's intelligence.
However, the stark and naked Montreal, Echoes of Silence, Same Old Song and Next replicated the sense of failure that permeated
the previous mixtape.
Sex had never sounded so macabre and suicidal.
Clams Casino produced the most musical piece, The Fall.
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