I was recently asked to describe the sound of The Weeknd, Frank Ocean (and maybe to a certain extent Miguel). My response was simple – “vampire r&b” and here’s why; It’s that dark feel of sex, drugs and R&B regardless of subject matter, that consistent ambience made more apparent by the lyrical bravery that defies unspoken boundaries put in place for contemporary r&b acts. This class of singers, it seems, isn’t bound by charts or trends. This music stands out as the soundtrack for young men in 2012. Music to get laid to, music you roll a fat one to, the perfect score for decadence–whatever your poison.
The Weeknd was first introduced to us via his mixtape House of Balloons and, in my opinion, quickly emerged as class president here with his catchy, slowed down post-trance beats and Michael Jackson-isms. What initially drew me to The Weeknd is his ability to plant his emotions deep inside your head, stealing your attention and not letting go.
His first official album release, Trilogy, is a compilation of all three previously released mixtapes – House of Balloons, Thursday and Echoes of Silence, put together with the inclusion of new joints “Twenty Eight”, “Till Dawn (Here Comes The Sun)” and “Valerie”.
If you haven’t heard of The Weeknd before now, then this is the right place to start. For those already here with plans to go the distance, aside from the three cuts mentioned above there is nothing new. Each song sounds like a deeply personal chapter in the twenty-something life of Abel Tesfaye, willing and able to lay everything out there for trial and judgment.
I’ve had a hard time singling out song to speak to in this review because it’s such a complete body of work and I really enjoyed listening to the album in it’s entirety–there’s very little filler here.
Overall, in fact, it might feel like a little too much of The Weeknd all at once. But then again the music is so good it might just be what the doctor ordered.