by Joe Mitchell
The Weeknd released his 4th album in 4 years, Starboy, last Friday with a solid combination of classic RnB bangers with a mix of a mainstream pop feel. The album includes a list of 18 songs with features from credible artist such as Daft Punk, Lana Del Ray, Future and Kendrick Lamar. After pulling out of Rihanna’s European tour in March, the man formally known as Abél Tesfaye decided he would start working on his next album that was released only a about a year after beauty behind the madness which got world wide recognition with the hit “I cant feel my face.”
Starboy as a whole was noticeably more mainstream than the Weeknd’s previous albums catering towards pop culture while still trying to have his classic RnB style to it. Trying to appeal to more of a mainstream culture is not necessarily a bad thing in my opinion as it’s just a way of expanding the fan base. The Weeknd told Zane Lowe from Beats 1 in LA last week “It’s good to have darkness, because when the light hits it feels that much better.” This statement speaks volumes because it gives the Toronto native flexibility to always go back to being a creative RnB artist who will not just get swallowed up by pop culture.
On the album there is like any other album songs that stand out more than others for various reasons specifically “Starboy”, “Party Monster”, “Secrets”, “True Colors”, “Sidewalks” and “Love to Lay”. “Starboy” takes the roll of the signature song of the album and has the same kind of feel as “The Hills” did in Beauty in the Madness or “Wicked Games” in Trilogy. “Starboy” has the a catchy chorus and with Daft Punk producing the beat you can not really go wrong with it. “Party Monster” is the next song that is for sure a banger on the album with it being one of the 4 songs released before the album. It takes on a feel similar to “In the Night” in beauty in the madness, with it not necessarily being the most upbeat song like false alarm but you could definitely bump it at a party. “Secrets” is another song on the album that is a very solid make. Secrets is that song that you’re for sure putting on first thing once you get in the car if you’re just trying to chill and relax. It’s not as slow and heartfelt as True Colors but it is just a chill song with good production behind it that you’re playing anytime you’re traveling on the road, laying down listening to music before bed or taking a shower. It’s just a super dope chill song. True Colors is that song on the album that makes you want to have a special someone in your life if you don’t already have one. It’s a classic RnB love song that makes you want to feel something special with someone. Sidewalks features Kendrick Lamar with a great verse and the Weeknd delivering a nice hook where he says, “Sidewalks saved my life, they don’t ever lie, sidewalks saved my life, they showed me all the signs.” Great song, good message, and Kendrick was a great fit for the feature. “Love to Lay” is the last song I consider a must listen, possibly my favorite besides Party Monster. Max Martin and Ali Payami produced the song, with the Weeknd having an excellently executed hook definitely one of the songs that is a radio hit. The song is constructed extremely well and has the radio feel reminiscent of “Cant feel my Face.” I wasn’t very impressed with “False Alarm”. I thought it was definitely put together very poorly and probably rushed when put together. I was honestly kind of scared about the album when it came out pre album but the album has since proved that’s not the case. Besides “False Alarm” there’s no song I’m skipping over when it comes on in my library.
Overall, Starboy is a solid well-constructed album and even though it is pretty mainstream and pop I don’t think that should take away how great of a artist the Weeknd is or how well the album was made. I hope going forward however the Weeknd can start doing his own sound again like he did in “Kiss Land” and “Trilogy.”