Starboy Album Review
Released November 25, 2016
Genre: R&B, Disco, 80s Synth Funk
The Weeknd has come a long way from being a blogosphere darling. No longer is he hiding behind anonymity and hazy, codeine soaked soft jamz. No longer is he crooning about being an awful person. For someone who appreciates morally guided artistry, this may sound like a great next step for Abel’s personal life, but it definitely affects his music. Starboy is just not very interesting in any sense of the word. Even though Abel might have the best voice in mainstream pop, his infectious voice cannot this album from being drab.
Production has always been extremely important for The Weeknd in the past, but that is not the case here. While everything is high budget and sleek, the melodies aren’t as sticky and sometimes the beats just have too much going on (“Nothing Without You”). Abel is singing over 80s-style synth-funk and disco for most of the album, like a nighttime chase-scene in a cheesy 80s action movie. In concept, this is a logical step for him to take in terms of picking beats – they are sadly subdued throughout. The most interesting song is “Rockin'” which sounds like he collaborated with a UK Garage producer. This song was a good move for Abel, but makes some awful moves on Starboy. As a huge fan of T-Pain, I was worried to hear The Weeknd use Autotune on the song “Sidewalks.” This is the ONE guy on the radio right now who doesn’t need Autotune. It didn’t make sense as an effect for the song and just sounded super out of place.
The Weeknd is not the same artist you showed your friends in the early 2010s when you wanted to prove you knew better R&B than them. Starboy is an uninteresting, shoddily-written (“I got an Asian Chick/she go lo mein”) way-too-long (well over an hour) mess.
FAV TRACK: Rockin’
LEAST FAV TRACK: Sidewalks