Despite being present on the music scene for good five years and being one of the biggest current male popstars (who would have ever thought, right?), Abel Tesfaye hadn’t released a studio album that would properly reflect either his personality or his status. Until now – Starboy is his best one yet.
The words “studio album”, which appeared in the previous paragraph were used intentionally. Let’s not forget that before 2013’s Kiss Land and last year’s Beauty Behind the Madness, The Weeknd has dropped three mixtapes, which are still commonly considered his best work. All, especially House of Ballons, were incredibly moody, sexy and atmospheric, something his albums failed to achieve.
Thanks to Drake, Ariana Grande and an appearance on the Fifty Shades of Grey OST, Tesfaye has gained a platform to success, which he later established by getting his first ever Billboard No. 1s with Can’t Feel My Face and The Hills. And while (especially) the singles were brilliant, much of Beauty Behind the Madness was just mediocre. There’s no surprise the record has received a lukewarm reception.
The Weeknd’s sixth body of work, Starboy, somewhat concludes everything he has ever done and yet there’s enough space for something new. There are two collaborations with Daft Punk, a track with Cashmere Cat, but producers behind his very first and last project, Doc McKinney and Max Martin, are also involved. Sure, the record would have benefited a lot if it was divided into standard and deluxe editions (there’s 18 songs after all), however the occasional filler isn’t really jarring.
At best, Starboy serves us UK garage-influenced Rockin’, gorgeous, Tears for Fears-sampling, Secrets, Trilogy-era throwback with Sidewalks and subtle disco of I Feel It Coming. Tesfaye’s newest is packed with loads of potential singles and if he continues to plays the cards right, he’ll become the “it” artist of the 2010s.4 / 5