The Weeknd’s Starboy Review

The Weeknd's Starboy Review

Hailey Spaeth

By Will Beyreis ’20, Contributor

Canadian Abel Tesfaye, better known as The Weeknd, is back with his latest album entitled Starboy. This album will seem somewhat familiar to those who have heard his 2015 album Beauty Behind the Madness, as both are full of dark and brooding tunes. Starboy has many skipping drum beats and melodic bass lines, seen on tracks such as “Party Monster,” with treble notes sprinkled throughout, more like accents than cohesive melodies. Traditional RnB elements such as melodic guitars and slow drum beats appear fused with rap lyrics on “Sidewalks,” an anthem to the rough side of the streets featuring Kendrick Lamar.  With “Reminder,” Mr. Tesfaye proclaims his wishes to be revered and respected among the hip-hop community, referencing his winning of a Teen Choice award in 2015, which he seems to take as misrepresentation of the topics he addresses in his music. These include copious consumption of controlled substances and/or alcohol, the purchase and driving of luxurious automobiles, and organized crime, as well as commentary on the life and love of one who engages in such activities. Not exactly Nickelodeon-friendly.

But as the album dips and swells, it shows a softer side of the madness with tracks like “True Colors,” as Mr. Tesfaye deftly handles a transition from a good girl/bad boy complex to that of a good boy/bad girl. Here with a feathery voice he asks if he can trust the girl he thinks he knows, adding, “These are the questions of a new lover.” Other songs such as “Secrets” paint a similar picture: the uncertain man who searches for true love but can’t find any. This presents a contrast to tracks like “Rockin’” and “Party Monster,” where emphasis is placed more on physical attraction and detachment from affection. The tables turn again with “False Alarm” and “Six Feet Under,” tracks depicting women who use men to attain money and status, with the narrator pulling back the curtain to reveal their true motives.

These elements begin to knot themselves together as the album concludes, mainly in “Die for You,” where it appears that a fear of attachment falls prey to the feelings a certain girl inspires. This song, like most of the album, follows a trend of confessing. Be they feelings of attraction, perceived sins, or suspicions of another, confessions pop up again and again throughout the album. Perhaps as a reference to the Christian tradition of confessing sins, Mr. Tesfaye is pictured on the album cover with his head in his hands, wearing a cross necklace. Ending on a more hopeful note, the album concludes with “I Feel It Coming,” expressing more hope for future relationships. Although Mr. Tesfaye is currently on tour to promote the new album, I feel another one coming.