The Weeknd has been everywhere lately. But then again, he’s pretty much always everywhere. We’re only a year out from the release of his sophomore album, Beauty Behind The Madness and frankly, I think we were all a little surprised when we learned he was working on a new full-length album a few months ago. But when he released “Starboy,” his first single and collaboration with the legendary electronic dance duo, Daft Punk, the hype seemed to build and everyone officially wanted more.
Related: Starboy Lyrics
Queue the release of three more singles off the album, including his second project with Daft Punk, “I Feel It Coming,” and finally, Abel Tesfaye, a.k.a. The Weeknd has given us just that. He released his third album Starboy on Nov. 25 and it’s chalked full of collaborations, co-produced tracks and basically, 18 electronic-infused alternative R&B hits that will keep his fan base happy and full for quite some time.
Let me just start by saying that I’ve actually always really been into The Weeknd. From day one, I was captivated by his ability to walk the line so effortlessly between mainstream, glossy radio pop and smoky, soulful grit that consistently left you curious about the man behind his alias.
And when it comes to Starboy, I still really appreciate and enjoy all of the above. I think he’s really making a run for the new age “King of Pop” but also, the album reeks of dark, methodical electronic power. However, the album doesn’t really introduce any new sounds that we’ve yet to hear from Tesfaye. But in my mind, and most likely his as well–if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it, right?
The album kicks off with the banger and title track “Starboy”, followed by the wildly catchy and heavy “Party Monster.” The hook “woke up by a girl, I don’t even know her name” stays true to the explicit nature of his lyrics. I really enjoyed this song and it's currently stuck in my head, so there’s that. A few other hard hitters are “False Alarm,” “Six Feet Under” and “Sidewalks” featuring Kendrick Lamar.
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“Sidewalks” sings of his tale from “Homeless to Forbes list,” and his rise to the top. It's accompanied by rhythmic synth line and a non-annoying auto-tuned vocal, plus a Kendrick Lamar verse that you can’t help but want to learn all the words to. Definitely a personal favorite of mine.
Speaking of collaborations, the record is full of them. From the sounds of Lana Del Rey, Future and, of course, Daft Punk, there are plenty of guest collaborations to go around. On top of the vocal contributions, the writing and production talent is impeccable on this album, as well. Notably, Diplo and Cashmere Cat are responsible for nearly one-third of the album.
You can almost spot Diplo’s pitch-shifted echo on “Nothing Without You.” And Cashmere Cat holds credits on “True Colors,” “Attention,” “All I Know” and “Die For You.”
“True Colors” is less Cashmere Cat-esque and engagingly slow. It lends itself to a Boys II Men vibe that I’m not mad about one bit. “Attention” is eerily soft with muffled background vocals and a meticulous beat behind a long, drawn out hook that stays steady throughout the song’s entirety. “All I Know” is not only a Cashmere Cat-influenced track, but includes Future. A bouncy drum line underneath The Weeknd’s soulful voice, paired with the auto tuned vocals of Future makes this track a hit for sure. And the last of the Norwegian producer’s credited tracks “Die For You” is definitely the most anthem-like of all his features. It’s a bit more rippling than the others.
He closes the album with his second collab with Daft Punk, “I Feel It Coming.” And it must be said – this song plays obvious tribute to Michael Jackson. The Daft Punk loyalists will say this doesn’t satisfy their craving for new music, but it’s still a phenomenal song that’s sure to gain popularity solely for its resemblance to the original King of Pop.
Final thoughts: all in all, if you devote the hour and eight minutes to the album, you’re not going to be disappointed. It’s consistently interesting. The album has a beginning, middle and end and you’re not going to hear the same thing over and over again. With Starboy, Tesfaye seems to really have mastered his sound. He takes risks in the right ways but still holds true to the edgy-yet-mysterious sound that brought him his fame. Listen to the album in its entirety below and let us know your thoughts in the comments section.