May 21, 2018

Album review: The Weeknd’s new EP brings interesting introspection but fails to deliver new sound

Sam Mitchell '19, Staff Writer

Photo courtesy of The Weeknd / YouTube.

On March 30, R&B artist The Weeknd released a six track EP called “My Dear Melancholy,” which dove into both his past relationships and current ones.

Abel Tesfaye, whose stage name is The Weeknd, began his musical career releasing a trilogy of mixtapes with critical acclaim in 2012. Those mixtapes were “House of Balloons,” “Thursday,” and “Echoes of Silence.” Tesfaye then released, “Kissland” in 2013, “The Beauty Behind the Madness” in 2015, and “Starboy” in 2016.

The EP features a tracklist of “Call Out My Name,” “Try Me,” “Wasted Times,” “I Was Never There,” “Hurt You,” and finally, “Privilege.” All of these songs feature a moody and dark instrumental over The Weeknd’s spacey vocals.

The first song, “Call Out My Name”, has been the most well received song off the EP, but ultimately it strikes the same chord as Tesfaye’s 2015 hit “Earned It” off the “Fifty Shades of Gray” soundtrack. It fails to add much on this epic, moody, and ambient sound, simply recycling it.

In terms of lyrical content, this album really shines through, as The Weeknd explores his wild relationships, presumably with famous actor and singer Selena Gomez, among others.

Critics  have been disappointed with this project. Esteemed Youtube Music reviewer Anthony Fantano said, “this is some of Abel’s most unadventurous material yet however, I won’t read into that to deeply as far as what he will do on his next project.”

Certainly, listeners can expect something more interesting in terms of an experiment with The Weeknd in his next full length album, but if this is indicative of his direction in the next project, Tesfaye’s style is regressing.

Pitchfork reviewer Larry Fitzmaurice noticed this regression as well, saying “simply put, it’s too early in this stage of Tesfaye’s career to so obviously attempt to replicate past glories. While My Dear Melancholy, makes for a slight curio in the Weeknd’s discography, it also feels like an unnecessary step backwards following the down-for-whatever approach of his recent work.”

Reflecting on the past is not always a bad thing, but, in the end sometimes it is best to let it be.

This album is not perfect by any means, as it can get overplayed even its short 6 track time span. Although Tesfaye has shown us some of his poetic introspection we have come to expect from him, the sound he gives his audience is far too similar to his past projects. In the end, I would rate this as a 6.2/10.

“My Dear Melancholy” is not the only new project to drop recently. I would like to acknowledge two other interesting albums, Cardi B’s “Invasion of Privacy” and singer Kali Uchis’ “Isolation” were released in early April.

Cardi B’s album mixes her self confidence with some well delivered and produced songs, giving listeners a very interesting debut album.

Kali Uchis’ new album combines soulful R&B with Kali’s interesting moody vocals, and fantastic production from Steve Lacy to the infamous art pop group the Gorillaz. Overall these two albums are very interesting, and I certainly recommend listening to these albums.

Listen to “My Dear Melancholy” here (NSFW lyrics):

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