It seems as if fans have eagerly been waiting years for The Weeknd to sound like his old self. His features have remained flawless, but his albums haven’t. We all heard the switch up, but consistently questioned how long it would last.Seven years ago I can guarantee that if you ask people who The Weeknd was, nobody would be able to give an answer. House of Balloons, Thursday, and Echoes of Silence never got the recognition they deserved until The Weeknd compiled them all in an album called Trilogy. “Wicked Games” became the popular single from the project and as people started to pay attention to who The Weeknd was, and what his music sounded like, they were ignorant to the fact that all of that the music they were falling in love with dropped about 4 to 5 years prior. His music was dark, like dark as in you shouldn’t even listen to it if you don’t want your heart to hurt. In 2013, he dropped his second studio album Kissland. The album, even darker because he was forced to face the things he had been ignoring back home; a theme that’s been evident in all of his music. Although we found clarity & release, fans weren’t as satisfied because that OVOXO Weeknd, wasn’t present any longer. In a way, it was too heavy, so those who were fans before, remained, and those who were new fans, faded away once again.
It’s more than R&B. There’s a sense of sacracy within The Weeknd’s music. In fact, it’s so peculiar that most of the time, you don’t even want to play it around other people.Back in 2013-2014, he never fit in the category of a PARTYNEXTDOOR or a TY$. His music was sadistic, somber, and raw. Only in a case like this would something so sad provide one the feeling of being happy, simply through the satisfaction of letting it all out. I think it’s safe to say that he was stuck between finding the balance of staying original, & creating music that the broader general public would acclimate themselves to, hence Beauty Behind The Madness & Starboy. He began to embed himself on the pop wave, which seemed to be lacking quality to his OG fans. He became a worldwide phenomenon, soundtrack guru, and Grammy Award winning artist, however, he wasn’t the same. This happens; when an artist takes a transition; we seem to selfishly ignore their growth and replace it with disappointment in the fact that they don’t sound the same as they did when we first fell in love with them. It’s natural for superstars to speak about cars and hoes, but we want to hear about raw things depression and disappointment as well because at the end of the day, we are all human. In each project since Trilogy, we have gotten a little sample of those raw things, although it may not have been consistent. Hearing that The Weeknd was going to drop another project, simply gave us hope once again.
Last Friday, on March 30th, The Weeknd dropped an EP entitled My Dear Melancholy. Although he’s still not back to his old self, he’seven better; he has become a blend of old The Weeknd, & new The Weeknd. And I must say, that blend is PERFECT. Here’s what we thought of the album:
“Call Out My Name”: Do you like drugs? The significant things about psychedelics and some stimulants such as ecstasy, is the fact that once the peak comes, you are overwhelmed with emotions and your own personal problems that you chose to either ignore or haven’t even realized, exist. As soon as the song begins you can feel the mood drop. It took him less than 30 seconds to let us into his heart and mind through the lens of vulnerability and agony. When you give someone your time, effort, and energy just to find out they wasted it, it provides the heaviest feelings of regret and disappointment that someone could ever experience. In addition to his new found iconic stardom, the news circulating behind his break ups with Bella Hadid & Selena Gomez gave us incentive to believe that his new music would provide that hurt & pain that is him as an artist. This is rightfully the first track on the EP because it certainly will snatch you.
Sounds like: Echoes of Silence
“Try Me”: He sings about hurt as if he isn’t the one creating it as well. It’s natural to want your cake and eat it too, but the frustration comes when somebody does to you what you’ve been doing to them the entire time. At some point you either decide to numb the pain and change yourself for the outcome of the situation. Or, sometimes those feelings and emotions make everything 10 times worse. “Try Me” speaks on the scenario of a girl who is sharing both her heart and body with her man and her lover. As Abel sings from the perspective of her lover, he brings us back to the “What You Need” vibes by suggesting that although he isn’t her main piece, he is the answer she’s been subtly seeking the entire time. “Try Me” speaks to the consciousness of settling for what you know you shouldn’t settle for, but still remaining satisfied within the toxic situation. As detrimental as it is to our hearts and minds, I think it’s safe to say we have all been in a scenario like this.
Sounds like: Kissland
“Wasted Times”: I’m sure he intentionally put these songs one after the other because it makes sense. That same scenario he knew he shouldn’t have been in, seems to have finally come to an end. He now finds himself in a balanced sense of regret & acceptance. Although we know we shouldn’t fall sometimes, gravity (also known as Love) has an immaculate way of pulling us down. He’s been saying for years that the higher you climb, is the harder you fall. After you fall enough times, the ground doesn’t scare you because you felt it before. “Wasted Times” is the internally and dreamy reflection of acknowledging something good while it lasted, but still feeling low about the results. It was too good to be true, and even though that was noted, you have to enjoy things while you can. That, most of the time, results in Wasted Time.
Sounds like: The Noise
“I Was Never There” ft. Gesaffelstein: I don’t know how many more ways he can attempt to tell us, ‘he’s a “bird”’. “I Was Never There” is as simple as the title. He’s explaining the roller coaster of his relationship where he’s reached the point in his consciousness where he can’t help but to face the fact that he is part of the problem. His stubbornness prevents him from verbally telling how sorry he is, which is also in fact because he doesn’t feel the need to apologize for being himself. “I Was Never There” explains the realization that she made him feel how he makes other girls feel. Now on the surface, they have experienced the same amount of losses. They’re connected through the idea of pain, but physically and mentally separated for the betterment of the relationship.
Sounds like: Beauty Behind The Madness
“Hurt You” ft. Gesaffelstein: As he continues his reflection of the effects he has on people, he simultaneously attempts to give a warning. There’s nothing more transparent than a woman or a man telling you not to fall for them before it all goes down. Similar to “I Was Never There”, there is a sense of self-blame but there is also a sense of carelessness because he tried to make sure that things didn’t reach this lower level. Sometimes you get caught up in the emotions and the experiences which lead you to ignore the oblivious. In a situation like that, the only thing you can trust is someone’s words which is exactly what he strategically provided in this song.
Sounds like: Starboy
“Privileged”: You ever fell in love? Red and blue pills contrast each other. Two red pills provide an overdose of freedom, knowledge, truth, and adversity. The over consumption of these red pills eases the pain like a sedative, getting one to the point where they have transpired past the thoughts of falsehood and ignorance, which is the blue pill. This is probably one of the heaviest songs on the EP because it reaches the final and most important part of any relationship that has been through the works: closure. As bad as things were and as many complications that rose internally and externally, it has been concluded that the person who makes you feel the lowest can also make you feel the highest. The significant thing about drugs is that as bad as they are for you, they do help. If you have the privilege and access to those drugs, he, she or they may be the only thing that can ease the pain.
Sounds like: New Abel
The satisfaction of dropping a collection of sounds that sounds like mixtape Weeknd was exactly what we needed. Through crossing genres, one cannot deny the fact that he has constantly been killing the game. What this EP did do however, is provided a direct assault to the statement that The Weeknd is no longer genuine. That last song on the EP, “Privileged”, shows that he has somewhere found the golden means between his old and new self. With such a short project, we can only hope that he has more in store for us in the year 2018. If he can continuously please both mainstream and underground audiences, he can easily go down as one of the best singers of all time; My Dear Melancholy was the slightest ode to that. As an active listener, the title leaves hope toward the idea that this is just the beginning of a new life/wave he’s on. And as always, with this version of The Weeknd, we’re here for it…
Stream the EP here.
By Kemet High