Updated sad boy sound
The Weeknd (aka Abel Tesfaye) dropped a six-track EP with little warning to his unsuspecting fans. Offering up darker vibes reminiscent of his earlier House of Balloons tape, Tesfaye departs a bit from his recent forays into pop mega-hits. However, with tracks crafted by various star producers he finds a way to blend his past and present. The flavor of each producer is apparent on the tracks, but all remain true to The Weeknd’s smokey drug-den style. While his sex, drugs and sadness inspired lyrics can sometimes fall flat, his ever-beautiful vocals make the record worth multiple listens.
My Dear Melancholy, is an obvious breakup album (Tesfaye suffered through high profile breakups with Bella Hadid and Selena Gomez in 2017), and the title notably has a comma indicating it is something of a letter to his trademark sadness. Measuring only six tracks and just over twenty minutes, it feels as if perhaps this record is something he needed to get out his system, a place to process his feelings without muddying his next full-length album. The lyrics take us through the full range of post-relationship feelings; he describes crying, suicidal thoughts, turning to drugs, rebound relationships and pleas for lost lovers to return.
While there are juicy tabloid-worthy details of his relationships to be found in the lyrics, the true merit of the album lies in its production value. Hip-hop heavyweight Mike Will Made It provides the trap backbone of “Try Me,” while the Skrillex-assisted “Wasted Times” gives us the biggest banger on the EP — a two-step jam with a chorus for all the heartbroken fans to sing along to. Tesfaye also collaborates again with Daft Punk’s Guy-Manuel de Homem-Cristo, who was heavily involved in Tesfaye’s previous album, Starboy. Homem-Cristo’s influence is unmistakable on “Hurt You,” which sounds like their previous collaboration “I Feel it Coming” but tilted into a minor key. Also featured on “Hurt You” is Gessafelstein, and the siren in the background of the track is reminiscent of his work on Yeezus, “Send It Up.”
The Weeknd originally introduced himself as drug-addled and depressed, but his following major-label hits, combined with his very public personal presence, skewed his image a bit more mainstream. My Dear Melancholy, proves that he’s still as dark and brooding as ever. The gossip-worthy lyrics are sure to please his pop fans and the heavy-hitting production has juiced up his sound, but he’s still the same sad Abel.