Photo credit: Raymond Flotat
Rising Indie R&B sensation The Weeknd just released a new single, called “Can’t Feel My Face” on June 8 through Republic/XO Records. This is the second single from the Canadian artist to come from his forthcoming album Chapter III, his second studio album since being signed by Republic in 2013.
Abel Tesfaye, the given name for The Weeknd, co-wrote the song, which is produced by Swedish electro legend Max Martin. They previously worked together on the hit single “Love Me Harder” from Ariana Grande’s album My Everything. That track was noted for being a launching pad for The Weeknd to reach Drake-level pop fame, by tying him in with Grande, widely considered to be the contemporary Britney Spears. Having Martin back on “Can’t Feel My Face” indicates that this song is meant to be a major pop chart force, and that Republic intends on cashing in on the growing popularity of The Weeknd’s slow, sweet-sounding and highly sexualized style of singing. On top of that, the song had a high profile debut at a live performance at Apple’s annual Worldwide Developer’s Conference in conjunction with the announcement of Beats Music.
The song itself is very characteristic of The Weeknd, complete with falsetto, Michael Jackson-esque vocals sung in a desperate tone and swirling rhythms in the background. There is a more poppy feel though, as the song is structured into clear build-ups, drops, and chorus characteristic of the EDM songs that Martin has made popular over the last decade. This arrangement differs from the more chaotic, free-flowing tunes that The Weeknd has released in the past.
It starts out with a rising synth tone, which is quickly overladen with Tesfaye’s lovesick declarations that build into a repetition of the verse “Don’t worry about it”. Then comes a classic Max Martin twist into a step beat. This arrangement repeats three times, and ends with an extended high-energy chorus that breaks down into a sultry step beat at the end that has the listener feeling as if he can recover from intense, whirling dancing that he is sure to be doing through the previous three minutes of the song.
What’s notable about this song is that it does not feature high-speed or high-power vocals to build up the energy for the audience, but rather uses the thumping bass beat to accomplish that, and trusting the sweet-sounding Frank Ocean-like vocals to feed the listener like candy. It seems that the audience is meant to keep their dance tighter to their body rather than wild motions, with the listener swinging his head with the music instead of thrashing it, like many other pop songs call for. The bass beat lures the feet into stepping in a disco style on the dance floor. For this reason, this track feels like a wonderful bridge between R&B and elctro-pop.
You can listen to the song below, and let us know what kind of dance it makes you feel like busting out.