starboy - the weeknd
the weeknd’s fourth album, “starboy” offers a more mainstream-oriented sound compared to his previous work, with a wide array of guests from rap superstar kendrick lamar to electronic duo daft punk to pop singer lana del rey. the album offers a range of different styles, fusing hip hop, electronic, r&b and pop sounds throughout the album. although we’ve seen this executed very well before, for example on frank ocean’s “channel ORANGE”, the execution on starboy makes the album feel messy, and the tracks don’t seem to fit together as well as they could’ve. for example, we would have more trap-oriented bangers like “reminder” and “six feet under”, more reminiscent tracks like “sidewalks”, and electronic influenced tracks such as “i feel it coming” and “starboy”. another major gripe i have with “starboy” is the songwriting, which is lacklustre especially in comparison to the songwriting on his previous works, most notably “trilogy” and “beauty behind the madness”. it feels lazy, as we’ve seen abel have excellent songwriting before, so there’s no excuse as to the dip in songwriting quality from his previous albums. i also feel that abel didn’t do anything too experimental or risky, and the album seems cautious when it comes to pushing boundaries and taking risks. take the electronic-inspired tracks, for example. despite it being a style we haven’t seen much in weeknd’s previous work, it’s not adventurous at all, and the goal seems more to sell records and be more radio-friendly rather than make something more original and unique, which we’ve seen him do before on some of his best tracks, for example “house of balloons/glass table girls”. despite all of this, abel still gave us some great tracks, particularly “die for you”, an emotional track about his breakup with girlfriend and model bella hadid. overall, “starboy” showed a significant drop in quality compared to his other work in terms of songwriting and experimentalism, but still gave us some great tracks.
best tracks: reminder, true colours, sidewalks, all i know, die for you