Singer The Weeknd is back with a new mixtape called ‘Thursday’ released on August 18 via his official website, the nine-track set sees the Canadian return with his signature downcast sound.
It’s easy to see how fellow Canadian rapper Drake (who guests on track ‘The Zone) became so inspired by the sounds of The Weeknd (real name Abel Tesfay). With all the bedazzle, shock and fizzle that dominates the music landscape at the moment, and with each music video trying to outdo the one that came before it – his two R’n’B/electro/ alternative mixtapes conjure up a whole new world.
This record sounds like a continuation of the first tape ‘House of Balloons’ and indeed ‘Thursday’ is the second in a trilogy of mixtapes that the 21-year-old will bring out. The album swells, aches and groans with electronic atmosphere, futuristic synths and literally creates space. Apart from the track ‘Lonely Star’ there are no real hooks here but much melody, lots of depth, whispering intensity and heavy concepts.
The album evokes much imagery and is the type of record that has a listener trying to form an idea as to where the hell a song came from. With his sonic falsetto vocal in tow he is sincere on ‘The Zone’ and sings some effective velvety smooth passages on the track. The title cut ‘Thursday’ begins with lonely alien drips of sound and evolves into pained layered croons over an R’n’B beat. ‘Rolling Stone’ is an isolated guitar led highlight in which the singer contemplates his own conduct within a relationship.
This work like many have suggested, is what superstar producer The-Dream would put out on his best day and I can’t help but compare cuts like ‘The Birds Part 1’ to the producer’s ‘Fancy’. You could size up the Canadian’s disc at times to Jodeci, Prince, Burial maybe even Aaliyah (think ‘One in a Million’) – but Tesfay never tries to turn these sounds pop like his buddy Drake successfully did on tracks like ‘Marvin’s Room’ – which leads me to my main drawback…
At times The Weeknd’s ‘Thursday’ can be a little too “Low NRG” – records like these don’t have much place on a summer’s day, at the gym, on a heaving city nightclub’s floor or on the way to a drink up. These records are really broken-hearted, neglected, nocturnal and have more undercurrents than the Indian Ocean – so one could actually argue this is real R&B – rhythm and blues, two words that could sum this album up sweetly.
At its best this mixtape is *true* escapism and perfect for sex (as our man screams on the first track, “baby, I can f*ck you right”), and relaxing but on the other hand this material can get too “grey” – directionless, lazy/samey and just too carried away within itself. No, the mixtape is not insanely strong vocally or lyrically by current urban standards but I don’t think there is a better modern R&B record that sets a mood.
Can also find article on: http://www.taletela.com/reviews/8891/review-the-weeknd—thursday