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Constantly Looking forward to The Weeknd

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I finally figured out who The Weekend reminds me of after listening to the album House of Balloons on repeat for the last couple of days…are you ready??? Chris Brown…mixed with a little bit of Drake and Frank Ocean perhaps?…on some serious narcotics.  You might assume that this is a bad thing but it is not. In fact I would go as far as to say it is incredibly enjoyable and worthy of all the excitement surrounding this new wave of progressive synth-drenched R&B.

Recently there’s been a lot of buzz about The Weeknd. No that is not a typo, that’s just how this group featuring Abel Tesfaye on vocals prefers to spell their name. Why is the second E missing? Who knows? Who cares! It’s just another mysterious tidbit cloaked in speculation about this Canadian group that has been gaining attention steadily since the mix tape,now known as House of Balloons was first heard online.  There is quite a bit of mystery around who exactly is involved in this collaborative debut.  Producers include Doc McKinney and Illangelo according to Pitchfork and rumour had it that Drake’s own producer “40” was behind this albums self released debut.   However that was not the case but it definitely intensified the hype and raised expectations.    Drake’s OVO blog has been hyping The Weeknd, and the group otherwise known as XO supposedly consists of Tesfaye, Doc McKinney and Illangelo.  From what I’ve gathered this trio are the culprits receiving full credit for the tracks on House of Balloons.

It seems like The Weeknd is the best modern Canadian R&B act to gain the admiration of an underground audience.  Who remembers a local group who has done that in the recent past? No one comes to mind, and quite frankly I’ve never heard a group quite like The Weeknd before.  He must be on some crazy stuff to dream up tunes like the ones featured on House of Balloons.  They recently performed for the first time live at the Mod club in Toronto.  Widely recognized Canadian talent isn’t something easily achieved everyday.  There’s only a handful of Canadian artists that have garnered this much credibility and attention so quickly whom I can name off the top of my head.  Drake’s own self release is the most viable comparison to where The Weeknd seems to be headed. A mixed range of music lovers are embracing this new sound of dirty, raw R&B laden with samples and synthesizers, gut wrenching wails and lyrics that evoke your craziest memories at the craziest parties.   It doesn’t seem to matter  whether you’re into R&B, Hip Hop, Rap , Dreampop or Trance this music is being embraced by most of whom hear it as it crosses and mixes genres.

Pitchfork rated this debut album as an 8.5 and The Weeknd has been hailed as the perfect aphrodisiac.  But it’s more than just something to bump and grind to.  The lyrics reveal hardcore yet intimate stories of betrayal, lust, drug use and morning after regrets.  The tunes sound made for seduction and wild nights with audible whispers, sighs, giggles and moans woven throughout the production.  This creates a dream like, sensual yet obscene R&B that no child’s ears should be subjected to.  The lecherous come-ons like “let me see that ass, look at all this cash” and at times, overly excessive wailing after describing a late night full of debauchery may be overwhelming at first but once you hear it you can’t help but love it. Tesfaye’s angelic vocals and harmonizing makes it all seem okay somehow.  On tracks like Loft Music, things get pretty rauncy as Tesfaye gets carried away by his choice of intoxication and winds up getting lost on the road back to recovery.  The drawn out harmonizing near the end enhances the scenario he paints but a little less moaning and a little more melody would go a  long way.  The Weeknds latest work is now readily available for download on their simple website that unfortunately provides zero backstory on production…

Judging from the cover art alone that shows a black and white photo of a bleak yet beautiful girl on Wednesday who transforms into a carefully manicured hipster, who looks happy as fuck AND in full colour on Thursday and finally like a ravaged wreck on Friday, one can only imagine what exactly went down on Thursday…

Can’t say I’m not extremely excited to find out!!

Check him out LIVE at MOD!!!


2 responses

  1. You’ve sparked my interst. Keep the reviews coming!

    August 28, 2011 at 12:49 pm

  2. please change your comment colour scheme….black on black is really hard to see:)

    August 28, 2011 at 12:52 pm

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