The artist named Abel better known as The Weeknd best described as Rap/R&B’s Phantom of the Opera, is deservedly one of the most intriguing artists of the time period. A pure balance of talent and mystique embodies the Toronto singer and to great results, as since his early beginnings he’s been critically acclaimed while each and every year his stock and appeal has continues to rise. In fact he’s likely Toronto’s biggest artist not named Drake, who undoubtedly played an enormous role in making The Weeknd a household name, although it’s also widely understood that their relationship benefited both artists in the long run - as Drake’s most celebrated project has Weeknd’s fingerprints all over it. As far as his own back catalogue his resume is solid, yet in the year 2015 he definitely transitioned - hitting Platinum status by way of landing the signature record on the blockbuster film of the summer (50 Shades of Grey) - all the while having the most streamed album that same year (House of Balloons).
Therefore it’s no surprise that the artist’s next move would be his most anticipated, and his 4th studio album would be his greatest opportunity to cement himself as a bonafide superstar in the new wave of R&B. Sure enough the album is appropriately called Starboy, and 18 records later it’s still debatable whether he lives up to his name.
Starboy ft Daft Punk
“I'm tryna put you in the worst mood, ah, P1 cleaner than your church shoes, ah” The intro, title track, and first single is definitely an infectious high energy track with smooth lyrics and a catchy melody, aided by the French Electronic Duo known as Daft Punk in their first ever collaboration. Daft Punk is actually featured twice on the album, the second being the outro that happens to be the best record on the project. This one is cool as well and sets the tone for what’s to come.
“I'm good, I'm good, I'm great, know it's been a while, now I'm mixing up the drank, I just need a girl who gon' really understand, I just need a girl who gon' really understand” Tbh I’m not excited about this one but it’s decent… it’s solid production and although it’s repetitive it’s halfway alright… not mad at this…
“Bathroom stalls for the powder nose (she loves), high heel shoes with the open toes (she loves)” This polarizing record with it’s vintage 1980’s feel is fire as the instrumental is undeniable and the performance on this is top of the line, yet I personally don’t have much use for it. This has Bruno Mars first two albums pop song of the year potential (different from Bruno Mars 3rd album unlimited replay value potential)...even tho Weeknd doesn’t really move like that.. which I respect… as stated before The Beauty Behind The Madness creator is legitimately like Hip Hop’s Phantom of the Opera (I want credit if that catches on…)… and I actually fux with that imagery more than I’ve enjoyed the majority of his previous records… similar to this pop smash hit that’s been out for months now and while it’s undeniable quality it doesn’t happen to be a personal favorite. Although the video is absolutely crazy 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥
“Said I'm just tryna swim in something wetter than the ocean, faded off a double cup, I'm mixing up the potion, all I wanna do is make that money and make dope shit, it just seem like ***** tryna sound like all my old shit” Your typical reminder type of record, one that’s better than decent even if it’s not exactly Jay Z Blueprint 3 level… either way he actually makes that Lo Mein lyric work on the hook in this and he gets some points for that.
“Why would you wanna take away from this moment… we can own it” This one capitalizes on the effect of less being more with an infectious melody that’s hard not to enjoy. Fire production from Max Martin & Ali Payami that’s cool to dance to, ride out to, or for any other occasion.
“I hear the secrets that you keep, when you're talkin' in your sleep” Written by almost a dozen people, apparently this one was originally a country record that turned into a new-wave/soul style record, and in the end it’s one of the best records on Weeknd’s new album. The song heavily samples The Romantic’s “Talking In Your Sleep” and Tears for Fears “Pale Shelter” and to me is most reminiscent of Human League’s sound in the 80’s.
“Tell me the truth.. baby girl, who else been with you..” Weeknd really does have one of the best voices in the game, at least on record, and he definity murders the melody on this record that everyone can relate to… [It should be noted on a wide variety of these songs there are a host of writers and producers… and that’s always pertinent information…]
Stargirl Interlude ft Lana Del Rey
“I had a vision, a vision of my nails in the kitchen, scratching counter tops I was screaming, my back arched like a cat, my position couldn't stop you were hitting it, and I...shouldn't cry... but I love it, starboy” … well this is strange without a doubt… regardless of whether it’s performed by the featured female vocalist, the whole imagery throughout the liner notes of the leopard (apparently named Murphy, who shows up in the M A N I A short film and the Starboy video) is definitely abstract to say the least… and upon further review I actually can dig it… not mad at the leopard storyline… it’s kinda ill actually...
Sidewalks ft Kendrick Lamar
“She wanna hang with a Starboy, the sun and the moon and star, boy, astronomer, anonymous, I line 'em up, grind 'em up, there's nine of us, and five of us are probably fucked, she mollied up, I tallied up all the parts, boy, twenty legs, arms, head (head). head, head, and more head (head)” This Kendrick verse is tough although some don’t agree… and Weeknd’s lyrics are on point in this as well… where they both speak on their humble beginnings and their transition to fame, over another smooth instrumental this time provided by Bobby Raps, Doc McKinney, & Ali Shaheed Muhammad from A Tribe Called Quest.
Six Feet Under
“Six feet under she gon' get that fucking paper” Metro Boomin & Future influenced this one and it's 🔥🔥🔥 no lie, a trap record that’s actually good, and it’s even better than their previous collaboration Low Life that currently has close to 300 million views on the net.
Love To Lay
“'Cause she loves to lay, (no) I learned the hard way” press play and catch the groove 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥More production from Ali Payami & Max Martin (as well as Weeknd himself) and it’s knockin...
A Lonely Night
“A lonely night, baby girl I loved you on a lonely night, oh, it was the only time, and if I led you on then I apologize” And another one from Ali Payami & Max Martin… crazy production and and another smooth melody… which at this point are honestly starting to blend together… (in a way that might not be necessarily good...)
“You're only looking for attention, you only notice it cause I'm never around” Again I can’t knock it cause how can you knock a smooth groove? It’s fire but is it memorable? Does it stand out from the 5 tracks before or after it? I’m not sure… it’s still another cool record all the same
“Valhalla is where all the righteous are led, Mulholland's where all the damned will be kept, Devil on my lap and a cross on my neck, cross on my neck, cross on my neck, over 45, I'ma drift on a bend, do a buck 20, I'ma fly off the edge, everybody said it would hurt in the end, hurt in the end, but I feel nothin'” Written by 8 people the lyrics are actually the best part of this record hands down, as the melody is simple and effective yet not quite as good. Strong production as usual tho, this time provided by Doc McKinney & Cirkut
Nothing Without You
“'Cause I know what's pain, this is not the same, I'd be nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing without you” And another one… again pretty much all these records are the same and that’s both good and bad… the good is that all the records are debatably fire… the bad is that they literally seem to be built the exact same way… either way I’m still rockin to it… this one is 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥
All I Know ft Future
I done fucked a bitch that bougie (yeah), have you ever, ever fucked a bitch that bougie? woah-oh (yeah yeah), I done fucked a bitch that bougie, I done, I done, I done fucked a bitch that bougie, woah oh” … SKIP!!! Honestly this is garbage… only record on here I’d say that about… I’m good on this
Die For You
“Even though we're going through it, and it makes you feel alone, just know that I would die for you, baby I would die for you, yeah” tbh…. SKIP THIS AS WELL… I’m not feelin this one or it’s R Kelly Feelin On Your Booty rhythm... it’s not bad but it ain’t good and this album should have had at least 5 fewer songs...
I Feel It Coming ft Daft Punk
“Tell me what you really like… baby I can take my time…” Now this one is timeless… this is a classic record… this one is actually worth writing about… ultimately for all the Michael Jackson talk (that for the most part is misguided), this one actually gives you that Michael Jackson album cut feel, and with that in mind I can’t think of a better compliment to give someone. Weeknd definitely annihilated this instrumental on record, and it’s only a shame he really couldn’t give it that Michael Jackson feel on the stage. Either way it’s still an incredible record, that along with Secrets, are the two best records on the album.
Overall Starboy is actually a damn good album, it’s just too damn long, without enough tracks that really stand out from one another. At the same time at least 15 of these 18 songs are legitimately good, yet while playing them together in one listen the sounds ultimately blur together and the moments are few and far between. This project is instead better off listened to in doses, disregarding the few records like Secrets and I Feel It Coming that are good money every time.
Meanwhile the large picture is just as undetermined, as The Weeknd’s status overall remains in legitimate question - considering that while he’s clearly above the likes of PartyNextDoor and Ty Dolla $ign, is he really in the same class as The Dream or Frank Ocean? They compare him to Michael Jackson and it’s true indeed that at times his vocals sound similar, yet considering he can’t dance or perform isn't that where the similarities stop? Therefore I think it’s safe to say that the verdict is still out, as despite his Platinum status The Weeknd doesn’t truly have enough classic records/moments to put him in the category his potential deserves. At the same time however I believe Starboy was a step in the right direction, and by all accounts his trajectory only continues to rise.