One artist that always manages to impress with his experimental sounds is Abel Tesfaye, also known as The Weeknd. Just this past weekend, The Weeknd released his new album, Starboy. The Album’s friday release lead to the work stealing the number one spot in over 80 countries. Starboy includes 18 songs, with only just a few features. The album is eccentric, lively, and Tesfaye’s geniusness shows through each song.
From start to finish, Starboy takes you on a luxurious journey. Each song is dipped in gold, the lyrics mentioning materialistic items such as Louis Vuitton and Bentleys. But aside from the lyrics, each individual song has a sound that melds well with the others, creating a unique, yet specific sound for the album. There are hints of The Weeknd’s old rich sound, tending to the Hip Hop lovers, mixed with a splash of electronica realness.
The features on the album include Kendrick Lamar, Lana Del Rey, Future, and Daft Punk. Daft Punk opens and closes the album, being featured in the 1st and 18th song on the album. Kendrick Lamar is featured on “Sidewalk”, a song with a slower sound, and allows Lamar to shine with his rap skills. Just as Lamar finishes his verse, Tesfaye picks the song back up, his voice strong and high as it dives into the chorus. “Stargirl Interlude” features Lana Del Rey, who starts off the song and controls most of it, and only until the end does The Weeknd’s voice start up. Future is featured in “All I Know”, a more Hip-Hop focused song, sounding similar to the Weeknd’s previous albums, giving fans the original Abel they know and love.
The album created a masterpiece of injecting modern pop into Hip-Hop/R&B. The album is under the R&B/Soul genre, but it holds powerful modern pop elements. “Secrets,” the sixth song on the album, offers a groovy vibe and sounds like the perfect radio tune. The Weeknd is careful to not stray too far away from his original sound, but Starboy shows growth and experimentation.
With that said, The Weeknd is sure to satisfy different fans. For his fans who fell in love with him during his Trilogy (a compilation album) stage, they will get a few tracks that tend to their music taste. Then there are the fans who just found The Weeknd when he released Beauty Behind the Madness in 2015, and the album offers a similar sound, just a more developed version. “Starboy suggests that the Weeknd’s focus on the 1980s is more than a temporary excursion, but his relationship with the sounds of that decade is also more complicated and less forthright here, revealing the sort of pop star the Weeknd wants to be — polyglot, and not hemmed in by traditional R&B frameworks, which were never of much use to him, anyhow” Jon Caramanica, a writer The New York Times, stated.
One critique the album bares is the amount of radio-ready songs it holds. Fans have questioned The Weeknd’s integrity on whether he is creating an album for himself, or the radio. There are a numerous amount of tracks that have the potential to be pop hits on the iTunes charts and the radio, which questions Tesfaye’s intentions with the album. The album still offers a fun, upbeat listen, with lyrics that make you think and feel.
Starboy is a continuation on The Weeknd’s previous album and allows fans an insight on the mixture between pop and hip-hop. It’s not doubt the album will continue to be successful with it’s luxurious, groovy sound.