‘I always want you when I’m coming down’

The Weeknd – House of Balloons
(self-released, 2011)

I’ve always had a secret taste for r&b music.  In fact, some friends might tell you it’s not really a secret at all and they wish I’d cut it out.  But lately there has been a shift in the ‘cool kids’ outlook on r&b and it’s become more and more accepted in circles that wouldn’t have tolerated it just a few short years ago.  Sure, this isn’t your little sister’s r&b.  Artists like Tom Krell bury it with lo-fi production, artists like The-Dream and Cee-Lo and even Rihanna have taken the historically subtle genre and turned it into something that would make most members of N.W.A. blush.  And then there are artists that mix r&b with other existing genres to create something entirely new, artists like James Blake and  Autre Ne Veut.

Now we can add another to that list.  The Weeknd is Abel Tesfaye from Toronto, Canada and he’s ‘only fucking 20 girl’.  The obvious comparisons to countrymate Drake and How To Dress Well have been made, but The Weeknd is much nastier than all that.  Don’t let the music and delivery fool you, there are some dark things going on here.  Drugs, sex, S&M…it’s all here.  ‘The only girls that we fuck with seem to have twenty different pills in em‘ he sings on Loft Music, acting disappointed even though he warned ‘you wanna be high for this’ on the album opener.  The warning, to the party, to the after-party, to the come-down…this mixtape takes you to some dark places and into the future where indie, electronic, r&b and hip-hop mash together in a drug infused orgy.

The WeekndHigh For This

Full Review:
WeAreRebels
Sputnik
Pitchfork