The Weeknd’s vocal capacity makes up for lack of experimentation


Album artwork courtesy XO records.

By Michael Gorman

After his smash hit single “Starboy,” released in September, The Weeknd released his album by the same name Nov. 25, but struggled to keep his momentum going.

Sure, he has a powerful voice, but he doesn’t really experiment with it, choosing to stay within his comfort zone.

The album solidifies The Weeknd as a shallow pop star, with fewer than half of the 18 songs hitting the mark.

Some songs do stand out though such as “Starboy,” though mostly for its production thanks to help from Daft Punk and a nod in the title to the late David Bowie.  The catchy, driving beat accentuates his soft-spoken delivery as he touts his newfound popularity.

One of the strongest efforts on the album has more to do with the cameo than The Weeknd himself. Kendrick Lamar is featured on “Sidewalks,” providing a welcome change from the monogamous sounds of the rest of the album. Lamar’s always-impressive flow caught fire, as it often does, on this song.

One of the few songs The Weeknd carries well by himself is “Six Feet Under.” The track features surprisingly coherent singing from Future, and the theme of a girl who will stop at nothing to make money. The delivery is performed well and the theme carries throughout the song.

One example of  the many lackluster songs is “True Colors.” The production, and his casual, lazy delivery lulls listeners to sleep.

Another comes when The Weeknd recycles his sound on “Party Monster.” It’s the second song, and sounds exactly like the first, “Starboy.” The production on “Party Monster” is dull, and the songwriting isn’t much better. “Woke up by a girl, I don’t even know her name.”

His release schedule doesn’t really change. He’ll have a chart-topping single, but can’t manage to capitalize with the coming album. No new sounds are introduced on the full-length project; it’s just more of the same. It’s a shame that someone with so much talent he can’t fully utilize it.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5