UNIVERSAL MUSIC, Rs 395
Many would not have heard of Abel Tesfaye a.k.a. The Weeknd’s debut effort Kiss Land that plunked badly on its release in 2013. Taking a point to the mistakes on it, The Weeknd brings out an album that you would enjoy. This pop/R&B filled album sees The Weeknd bringing many of his mates to join him hoping the collaboration might make a difference. It does to a certain extent.
Losers features U.K. singer-songwriter and producer Labyrinth on a catchy melody. You have some squishy drums, handclaps and a bit of jazzy influence thrown in. On Tell Your Friends, The Weeknd says that he’s still the same old guy in the face of all the fame, though some things have changed, we hope so musically. He sings: “My cousin said I made it big and it’s unusual / She tried to take a selfie at my Grandma’s funeral”; we didn’t expect him to go overboard like this. The Hills, with its catchy chorus and eerie screams, is a favourite here. The Weeknd talks to his lover about what he has done in the evening before he met her.
Skipping Acquainted an average track which has The Hills sample, we go for a track The Weeknd performed at the VMAs… Can’t Feel My Face which incidentally was his first number one hit. Co-written by Max Martin, (and if you didn’t know, The Weeknd has written the lyrics to all his songs here), he plays wicked and talks about the favourite things he enjoys in life. The beat is highly addictive, danceable funk bass, with vocals only the Canadian singer can produce. Mind you this song has a flippy edge to the style of Michael Jackson songs. The heady and very infectious In The Night has a disco feel to it and draws you onto the dance floor.
Shameless is partly an acoustic piece, opening into a brilliant electric guitar solo midway. It’s The Weeknd’s moment on instrumentation. Earned It, the theme song for 50 Shades of Grey, sees the 25-year-old on a slow mix, nothing that would get him any brownie points even though the lyrics are a bit nasty. Ed Sheeran’s collaboration on Dark Times fails, while the Lana Del Rey duet on the soul-searching Prisoner, adds nothing much except her vocals to a pretty low grade drum-heavy piece.
Enjoying the album would need a second audition, but his catchy hooks, lascivious lyrics and strong vocals… that’s The Weeknd packaged for you.