Today we celebrate our beloved King of the Fall, The Weeknd.
I remember the day I discovered him like it was yesterday. While browsing on Tumblr, I kept stumbling across a youtube video titled, “The Morning.” I saved the link to the video but I slept on the gem that was on my hand for some time. When I finally listened, my mind was blown. I fell in love with The Weeknd immediately after the beat dropped for the chorus. He shifted my thoughts of music and marked another transitional time for R&B music with all of his dark glory. Soon after catching up with the other audio that was floating around on Tumblr, “What You Need” and “Loft Music,” his first mixtape- House of Balloons- dropped and became a staple in my music catalogue.
Since releasing the original Trilogy all in 2011, The Weeknd has evolved immensely in style, aesthetic and swag. When he signed with Republic Records and created his own label, XO, he used the opportunity to experiment with different sounds with Kissland, which debuted at number two on the Billboard charts in 2013. Kissland helped him get to new levels in the music game, having the opportunity to tour with Justin Timberlake and working with notable artists like Sia. Although The Weeknd went from mysterious Youtube star to mainstream pop sensation overnight, he was still considered underground.
A little after his King of The Fall Tour began in 2014, “Earned It” was released as a featured single on the Fifty Shades of Grey Soundtrack, which blew all of us out of the water. The Weeknd turned into a mega superstar overnight, having insane opportunities such as snatching up some Grammys and partnering with Apple for the launch of Apple Music in 2015.
He recently dropped his fourth studio album, Starboy, which has been in heavy rotation for a lot of ears. In my opinion, this album is a blend of what The Weeknd experimented with when he first went mainstream and what he originally was most noted for in lyrical content and production. Some tracks from Starboy that exemplify this are: “Party Monster,” “Reminder,” and “Six Feet Under.” But there are some tracks such as “Die For You” and “Rockin'” that show his maturity in music and his invincibility to trial without error.
Although, The Weeknd’s entire discography- including his music prior to his career as The Weekend – is absolutely amazing, nothing beats his original Trilogy: House of Balloons, Thursday and Echoes of Silence.
Check out some of my favorite songs of The Weeknd’s from his Trilogy!
“What You Need”
The airiness of this song still gives me chills to this day. Oddly, his swag in this song reminded me of Maxwell in a more aggressive tone and I was all the way here for it. At the time, it was quite possibly one of the most subtle, yet sexually overt things I’ve heard come out of the Millennial generation of music.
“House of Balloons/ Glass Tables”
When I first heard this song, it’s like I had to tune my mind to it. It was loud and abrasive but catchy. His melody over the chorus is what enchanted me to fully accept this song. What really got me was the switch to Glass Table Girls. I actually got my first speeding ticket dancing to this song too hard.
“The Party and The After Party”
Once again, two songs in one. He made me really appreciate a breakdown in a song. What I truly love about this song is how vulnerable he is. He’s literally talking about running after a girl who’s basically playing him. That was a new perspective to listen to in a song and I loved it. My favorite lines are, “They don’t want my love. They just want my potential” and “Give me the right attention or I’ll start drowning for my wish. Baby, if you knew the feeling I would give to you.” I melt every time.
This ghostly song takes me to other dimensions. The beat alone sends me into immediate body rolls. Sidebar: It took a while to realize that “The Party and The After Party” and this song flowed into each other because I screamed the entire album everytime I listened to it. Between track changes I was too busy making sure my vocals were well equipped. So, technically speaking, are the combined songs a true 8 minute track? Food for thought.
“The Birds Pt. 2”
“The Birds” Part 1 and 2 took a while to grow on me. Part 1 was another abrasive song with a harsh beat but eventual became a power song for me. What I love about part 2 the most was the chorus which was sampled from the original song “Sandpaper Kisses” by English artist Martina Topley Bird. I listen to both tracks and swoon equally to both.
Now I know this song is super problematic, but this song took me by surprise. When I first saw the song title I immediately thought, uh-oh–because knowing The Weeknd the way I did by the time Echoes of Silence came out, I knew it was going to be SOMETHING. His sweet singing days were just about behind him at this point. There’s so much to marvel at in this song. The levels of his voice constantly change throughout the song, his shrieks toward the end, the hard representation of XO, his flow, THAT BEAT! Uh, amazing. The unexpected nature of the song makes it even better.
What are some of your favorite songs of the Weeknd’s? Let us know!