– by Dylan D
I’ve been following Abel Tesfaye on his journey as The Weeknd only a few months before his second studio album “Beauty Behind the Madness” released late last year. Though it hasn’t been too long, I’ve been endlessly fascinated with The Weeknd and his dark and personally engrossing style. The truth is Abel’s becoming one of the biggest celebrities in the world, many people love him. But there is vocal group stating that he’s betrayed his old style found in “Trilogy”. “Beauty Behind the Madness” launched the star into a sort of Dark-Pop vibe, and now with his third studio album “Starboy”, he seems to be doing it again. Just look at this quote from the title track:
“You talking ’bout me I don’t see the shade
Switch up my style I take any lane”
The real question is: did he once again successfully change styles?
After listening to “Beauty Behind the Madness” roughly twenty-five times (no exaggeration) I can safely say that “Starboy” isn’t as big of a change as advertised. If anything, Abel’s taken a step backwards to his original darkness.
The first song is the title track, “Starboy” which is a great song in reality, but because of the constant repetition of it on the radio I grew weary quickly. Thankfully the next track, “Party Monster” is an utterly fantastic song describing the typical Weeknd lifestyle; partying with too much alcohol, drugs and regret. Then the second best transition of the whole album occurs, “Party Monster” blends wonderfully into “False Alarm”, which was released early with the title track. “False Alarm” is the essence of the entire album; it is dark, so dark that Abel literally screams louder than he has in any other song, but it also has a hyped-up pop vibe.
The best transition then brings us to “Reminder” a light song which feels like the aftermath of “False Alarm”. The transitions on the album are so fantastic it feels like one big song.
I won’t go through every track individually, as the album is his longest in his career. Instead I’ll describe the overall feeling of the album as a whole and what the rest of the songs bring to it individually.
Unfortunately, if you’re an early Weeknd lover and hated “Beauty Behind the Madness”; I don’t think you’ll find more than a handful of songs to enjoy on “Starboy”. After the songs I listed above comes back the brighter pop-feel and some tracks actually seem like love songs which is the complete opposite of what The Weeknd was known for. One thing I need to note is that the pop isn’t like last time. The beats you hear in songs like “Starboy” and “A Lonely Night” feel 80’s inspired, like something you’d hear in “Grand Theft Auto: Vice City”.
The album then fades back into a bit of darkness with appearances by Kendrick Lamar and Future, but by the very end of it comes quite possibly the nicest song Abel has produced: “I Feel it Coming”. This song defines the change of not just his style, but him as a person. No more is he socially poisoning girls like in “The Birds” (on Trilogy); here he is thinking beyond sex and into friendship, more specifically love. Abel has grown and quite possibly learned from his mistakes. With his inventive “Starboy” music video he shows the ‘new him’ killing his old self. I think it’s time we welcome him.
As a long time fan, I’ll admit The Weeknd has certainly changed lanes, but that’s no problem at all. Life wasn’t meant to be lived by doing the same thing continuously; Abel is having fun with his new found fame, wealth and values. As long as he doesn’t keep bragging or putting others down like he does in the title track, why shouldn’t we give him a chance? I need more time to think if I prefer it over last years “Beauty Behind the Madness”, but “Starboy” certainly didn’t let me down.
+ A fusion of both his past darkness and pop
+ 80’s vibe
The Weeknd has done it again. While I think an album this long came maybe a little too soon after his previous, and that he should’ve spent more time on it; I can’t think of any real complaints here. It didn’t blow my mind like his previous albums, but every song is catchy in it’s own way and some definitely rank in my all time favorites. After “Starboy” I certainly look forward the Abel Tesfaye’s future work.