By Krista DeJulio – Co-Editor-in-Chief
The Weeknd’s new album, dropped Friday, November 25, was among one the most anticipated album releases of the year. The Weeknd, the one-man group of Abel Tesfaye, is now among the ranks of Drake, Kanye West, and other high-named and high-profiled rappers and artists. Although Tesfaye’s last album “Beauty Behind the Madness” was dropped just last August 2015, his new album “Starboy” was still in high demand. “Starboy” is name of the first single released by Tesfaye on September 22 and features Daft Punk and faced immediate success. “Starboy” is the third studio album released by Tesfaye, but also released three full mixtapes in 2011. “Beauty Behind the Madness” featured five singles and “Earned It” from “Fifty Shades of Grey” and “Starboy” is projected to follow suit.
New album, new hair, new merch. But this album has the same sounds and vibes as his last albums and mixtapes, with his lyrics featuring the same themes and ideas as well. While Tesfaye was once under the wings of rapper and fellow Canadian Drake (and the two have been featured on each other’s albums), he now features artists within the same range such as Kendrick Lamar and Future (who is also featured on the song “Low Life” with him). Also featured on the album is singer Lana Del Rey on the song “Stargirl Interlude” at a mere minute and 42 seconds (Del Rey is featured on the song “Prisoner” on his previous album).
According to Complex, “The Weeknd claimed the No. 1 album in the country with first week sales of 348,000 equivalent album units. Of the Weeknd’s overall numbers, 209,000 were in traditional album sales” and “broke his own [Spotify] record, becoming the artist who was streamed 40 million times in one day.”
It’s hard to label one genre of music for “Starboy.” The album sounds a lot like his previous works, including the lyrics, but some songs have a 90s R&B sound with songs like “I Feel It Coming,” “A Lonely Night” and “True Colors,” with consistent beats and rhythm. While the songs feel the same at times, this album, overall, is especially polished and thought out. Tesfaye is a star hitmaker and, of course, a starboy.
Some lyrics are personal, unlike most other songs, and the track “Sidewalks,” featuring Lamar, features the line “I ran out of tears when I was 18 [….] Homeless to Forbes List.” The line is reminiscent of Tesfaye’s life on the streets starting at age 17 and to now performing on late night shows and headling tours.
The 18-track album is reminiscent of what Tesfaye’s is known best for singing – songs about women and past drug use as he’s known for his sexually-explicit lyrics and lines exploring drugs. With this album already doing commercially very well, there’s room for at least half of the album to become a hit on the radio (after some careful editing), not unlike his past albums.
Standout tracks: “Ordinary Life,” “All I Know,” “Party Monster,” “Reminder,” “Six Feet Under”