In 2015, R&B singer The Weeknd released his Grammy winning “Beauty Behind The Madness” album. Born Abel Tesafaya, BBTM was met with a ton of positive reactions from both fans and critics, marking the turning point in his brief music career. Earning three billboard number one singles and a triple platinum status along the way, BBTM morphed The Weeknd into superstardom, instantly becoming a household name and one of music’s most consistent hit makers.
To the delight of many of his new fans and the dismay of his earliest, The Weeknd has masterfully pushed the boundaries of pop music. His signature falsetto and knack for catchy hooks over trippy synth heavy beats has delivered some of the biggest hits over the last two years, despite the majority of them not necessarily following the formula for today’s biggest hits. His latest album “Starboy” continues to push the envelope, and is a more than worthy follow up to last years Grammy winning breakthrough album. Lead single and title track “Starboy” is the perfect example of this. Over a synth, bass heavy beat, courtesy of Daft Punk, “Starboy” is the perfect single that shows just how far the singer has come. Lyrics like “Switch up my style I kill any lane, Made your whole year in a week too ah” the singer is not shying away from the spotlight, and is letting it be known that he is a superstar. Backed with distorted vocals over the songs half sung half talked chorus, “Ah ha ha ha, Look What you’ve,” “Starboy” is The Weeknd at his most confident, managing to create an instantly catchy banger without the typical ear worm hook or beat drop.
“Party Monster” is just that, a signature trap banger. “Got up, thanked the lord for the day, woke up by a girl I don’t even know her name” The Weeknd sings over the songs catchy hook. Once the bass drops in the beginning, the song never slows down. Expect this song to be played in clubs in the near future. “6 Feet Under” is another addition to the club bangers catalogue The Weeknd has made a career from. In some ways a sequel to this year’s “Low Life” it’s only right that rapper Future helps out over the tracks banging hook.
Despite the recent change in style, The Weeknd never abandons his roots, as songs like “Reminder,” “Ordinary Life,” “Die For You” and “True Color” are sprinkled throughout the project and easily bring back the memories of his House of Balloon days, a sure welcome sight for many of his earlier fans who may have deemed the singer a sellout.
Again however, this is now superstar The Weeknd, and he has continued to experiment with more radio friendly tracks that made 2015’s inescapable single ‘I Can’t Feel My Face’ such a huge hit. “Rockin” is the first dance number off of “Starboy.” “I just want your body next to me, cause it brings me so much ecstasy, we can just be rockin” he sings over the insanely catchy hook over a futuristic disco infused beat produced by Max Martin, whom he teamed up with last years hit. “Secrets” is another disco dance track that wonderfully samples classic 80s songs “Pale Shelter” and “Talking In Your Sleep.” The biggest standout on the project however is the Kendrick Lamar featured “Sidewalks.” Backed by a string of guitar chords and heavy bass and a monstrous verse from Kendrick Lamar, The Weeknd doesn’t forget where he came from, as he sings “Sidewalks changed my life” over the chorus. The outro even includes an amazing appearance from fellow R&B singer Sam Smith.
“Starboy” is yet another boundary pushing test from The Weeknd, and like last year’s BBTM, it succeeds in every aspect. Just when the album might be going into to full pop mode, it makes a complete 180 and brings it back and reminds fans that despite the recent superstar status, he has not abandoned his older form and instead has evolved from it.