Album Review – The Weeknd: Starboy

  • NQ's Jack Park reviews The Weeknd's third studio album, Starboy
  • Featuring appearances from Kendrick Lamar, Lana Del Rey, Future and Daft Punk, Starboy peaked at number 5 in the UK Album Charts
  • Follow the NQ for a review of The Weeknd's gig in Manchester this Sunday

When he pulled out of Rihanna’s European Tour in March 2016 to record more music, The Weeknd shook up the conventional path of pop, for one touring makes a lot more than recording music. A year after the acclaimed grammy winning ‘Beauty Behind the Madness’, Starboy is The Weeknd at the high of his power and nothing can seem to stop him. Every artist wants to work with him and his distinct sound cannot be copied. Cue the new haircut, teased album art and short film as well as the hyped European tour which kicked off not long ago.

The album features eighteen tracks, a more than generous helping as Abel has had a lot going on since his last album. On November 23rd 2016, The Weekend released a twelve minute short film to promote the album which featured four tracks from the album with artists such as Future, Kendrick Lamar, Lana Del Rey and Daft Punk. No punches have been held in terms of guest appearances for this album as it arcs back to the roots of Kiss Land.

While musicians often write about coming into the starlight and how to cope with newfound stardom – it’s one of pop's oldest tropes – The Weeknd avoids the usual clichés with observations and anecdotes that feel specific and genuine. That’s exactly it, Abel knows the cliches and stereotypes of todays modern audience and doesn’t conform to them. He does what he wants. The focus on this album also is the major collaborations, this is Abel giving his gift to other artists as well as ordinary people like you and me.

‘Starboy’ and ‘I Feel It Coming’ start and end the album as collaborations with Daft Punk inject some pop and funk into what some have called a moody album about him being afraid of love. Every song is typical of his ‘trademark’ beats, sensual voice and electronic vibes. Other notable songs include ‘Secrets’ a club house hit, ‘Sidewalks’ where Kendrick Lamar lends a hand, connoting ever more that everyone in the world of everyone wants to work with Mr Tesfaye. ‘Stargirl Interlude’ is another track with Lana Del Rey, she seems to be all in on love with the prince of pop. We’ve also heard that before though, echoed in ‘Nothing Without You’ are vibes of the late Michael Jackson. The thrashy hit ‘Rockin’’ full clubland beats and the Prince-esque ‘Love To Lay,’ were also really enjoyable.

People may argue that Starboy offers the same thing that every Weeknd album has done, the same style of songs and yes not every song is a smash hit but they don’t need to be. The sunset song of this album, ‘I Feel It Coming’ discloses that The Weeknd is far from done, his upcoming tour is sure to cement himself in the books of the musically elite and I’m sure his next album is going to be just as good as this. Fans might be asking, what can he actually do next? though.