Tone Deft

“Starboy” by The Weeknd

By Hanna Schindler
On December 1, 2016

Canadian singer, songwriter and producer Abél Tesfaye, otherwise known as The Weeknd, released his third studio album, "Starboy," Nov. 25.

Although Abél has released music for years in addition to his studio albums, including a compilation album and three free mixtapes that were all well received, he hasn’t been seen as a force in modern music until recently.

Regardless of his music being something I normally don’t relish , one cannot ignore the countless number of artists who shamelessly copy The Weeknd’s pensive, moody R&B archetype, bearing this stylistic trendsetter who was originally thought to be some kind of Drake protégé.

Like The Weeknd’s past albums, a lack of continuity is still present on "Starboy," with an erratic abundance of sounds and genres that almost seemingly create a genre of their own.

Never being able to settle on one sound, The Weeknd’s tendencies and disposition is expounded on and exemplified through "Starboy."

With features from artists including Daft Punk, Future, Kendrick Lamar and Lana Del Rey, listeners can hear an imminent change in The Weeknd’s sound. It demonstrates a juxtaposition of the musical direction Abél is coming from, and perhaps the direction he is headed.

"Starboy," although audibly nuanced with modernization in comparison to previous albums has the same narratives told. The same love stories, the same tragic heartbreak and the same Abél looking for love in the wrong places are all becoming somewhat tedious.

One of the highlights of the album, "False Alarm," seems to be polarizing many of the die-hard fans. I however appreciate what is trying to be accomplished through the track, with the driving beat, retro synth lines and experimental nature that seems almost Krautrock inspired. The shrieking backing vocals and explosive hook on the track create this exploratory display that is foreign to the rest of the album.

The vocal melodies on several of the tracks including "Reminder" and "Rockin" are lacking creatively and don’t exemplify Abél’s vocal range or tonality. These tracks revert back to the Michael Jackson inspired, if not full imitation of, which Abél expressed on his first albums.

Ultimately, this chaotic album may have meant to be just that. With a medley of sounds exuded from "Starboy," the album was bound to include both a pinnacle and nadir. Despite both, the album decidedly exemplifies the positive direction and looming possibility of a musical breakthrough.

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