I first fell in love with The Weeknd (Abel Tesafye) when his mixtapes ”House of balloons”, ”Thursday” and ”Echoes of silence” came out in 2011.
He started out uploading the videos to his songs “What You Need”, “Loft Music”, and “The Morning” on youtube in 2010, keeping his identity somewhat secret and many music fanatics, journalists and fans wondered who this guy was.
(You can find the three albums remastered and bundled on ”Triology” 2012.)
I listened to the songs ”High For This”, ”Loft Music”, ”Wicked Games” and ”Birds pt.1” and ”Birds pt.2” repeatedly, every night before going to bed and every morning when I woke up. They gave me chills and special tingly feelings, this was something new. I hadn’t heard this before. I hadn’t heard a voice like this before. One time I even had to lay down on the cold floor to really take and absorb “Loft Music” in.
With this said, I was a bit disappointed when his debut studio album “Kiss Land” came out in September 2013. I can’t find one song on the entire album that sticks, and stays with me, like his old songs do.
Although, the songs are not all bad, “Adaption”, “Tears in the rain” and the main track “Kiss Land” are beautifully done, and they still has that XO* sound to them.
Tesfaye’s music has been critically acclaimed, and some may call The Weeknd’s music “hipster R&B”, pretentious or alternative, but I’d say that they just don’t understand. It could be described as dark, futuristic and sensitive, sung with Tesafye’s characteristic rapping with a falsetto voice.
I believe that I can hear a stringent difference between The Weeknd’s sound when he was underground, sitting alone at home producing his own, special and outstanding music in comparison to a more balanced studio made album.
“Kiss Land” feels like it tries to please a bigger, mainstream audience and I feel like Tesfaye lost some of his unique sound. It feels a bit flat, a bit boring I would say.
If The Weekend’s old albums are like a rainbow, with all its colours, “Kiss Land” is somehow more plain, a greyish inconsistent blur, that surely will take me a few more listens, before I can really make my mind up.
And I do miss it, how he used to sound.
*The Weeknd usually calls himself The Weeknd XO in the social media, and his own label is also known as XO.