Canadian Singer Please His American Fans

By Daniela Wainfor

Provocative, futuristic-influenced beats bring out the forced falsetto and breathy tone of the Canadian R&B/Soul singer, sound familiar? Abel Tesfaye, better known as “The Weeknd” released his third studio album Starboy  on Nov. 25. If you’re a fan, you’ve probably heard his other two studio albums Beauty Behind the Madness  and  Kiss Land, and once again, he has fallen into the same routine of explicit lyrics and slow seductive beats.

The hotly-anticipated album released by XO and Republic Records  consists of 18 tracks. The inspiration for most of the music on this album sprung from the sounds of legends Prince, and David Bowie. The brand new album acts sort of as a “reinvention” of himself, following the surprising snip of his signature dreads.

One will find that the 18 tracks seem not only similar to each other, but similar to the many other songs he has laid his identifiable voice on.  Listen to a couple of songs consecutively, and you will find yourself wondering if you’ve been listening to one continuous song that changes tempo once in awhile. The musician struggles to find different beats as all the music on this album is similarly inspired.

It’s hard to find a track on this record that doesn’t celebrate sex or drugs. The songs consist of some pretty explicit lyrics, the meaning of the songs may also be interpreted to convey an explicit meaning not suitable for young children but of course, iTunes made available a clean version of the album.

Props to Abel and the producers though, for incorporating a wide array of featured artists. Well-known musicians such as Lana Del Rey  featured in Stargirl, Kendrick Lamar in Sidewalks, Future in All I Know, and Daft Punk in the previously released single Starboy.  The different styles and voices of the featured artists all come together to complement The Weeknd’s signature R&B sound with a hint of rap and funk influences.

Starboy  may be full of similar beats and lyrics that entertain provocative thoughts and ideas, but what makes this album different; is the fact that you can listen to a song like A Lonely Night  and hear Prince’s soulful voice, or undertones of Bowie’s classic rock sounds in Secrets.

In addition to the inspiration of Prince and Bowie, some of the tracks are also inspired by funky Ethiopian beats. Abel grew up listening to the Ethiopian tunes played by his mother, and grandmother. And the melodies and undertones of his heritage are evident in the  beats of the songs.

The Weeknd truly captures the essence and beauty within destructiveness in this new hit album, but if you want to be a part of all the hype around it, save your $13.99 and download it on Spotify for free instead.