‘Starboy’ impresses fans as The Weeknd reinvents image with new album
The Weeknd’s third studio album “Starboy” did not disappoint fans, boasting a premiere date that broke Spotify’s record for most streams of a single artist’s album in a day.
The album features a generous 18 songs, providing a mix of upbeat hits like “Starboy” and “Party Monster” and dreamier slow jams with beautiful vocal riffs that are the classic style of The Weeknd.
The album has more A-list features than any of his previous works — with Kendrick Lamar, Daft Punk, Lana Del Rey and Future each on separate tracks.
The Weeknd, born as Abel Tesfaye, explores similar sounds from past albums like darker melodious beats from his first work, “House of Balloons,” to more upbeat pop renditions of his most recent, “Beauty Behind the Madness.”
Throughout the album, Tesfaye shows his vocal talent in sweet soprano — a juxtaposition to the dark, gritty words and jarring beats of tracks such as “False Alarm.”
The album is, in many ways, homage to the ‘80s — embodied in “Secrets” where Tesfaye’s chorus is a rendition of ‘80s hit “Talking In Your Sleep” by The Romantics. He proves, yet again, that he can put a modern twist on the same raw excitement that the era postulated.
In many songs, he references the misguided way he’s become so mainstream.
He even discusses his Teen Choice Award for “Can’t Feel My Face” — a surprising win, as the song is allegedly about drug use.
“I just won a new award for a kids’ show, talking ‘bout a face numbing off a bag a blow,” Tesfaye sings in ‘Reminder.’ “I’m like god—-, b—-, I am not a Teen Choice.”
In “Sidewalks,” the track featuring Kendrick Lamar, he also references his unlikely rise to fame and fortune singing that he went from “Homeless to Forbes List.”
The most popular single off the album, “Starboy,” gets a mystical counterpart with “Stargirl,” an interlude track that features dreamy alternative pop artist Lana Del Rey, who Tesfaye has previously worked with.
“I was making my music, and it felt like Lana Del Rey’s lyrics and my lyrics were talking to each other sometimes,” Tesfaye said in an interview with Beats 1 Radio. “She’s one of my closest friends in the industry.”
The short, wistful interlude discusses the “Stargirl” as Tesfaye’s one true companion, and as he’s enjoying a life of stardom, she deserves the success as well, with his repeated lyric, “I just want to see you shine ‘cause I know you are a stargirl.”
To pair with the album, Tesfaye wrote a short film, “Mania,” which provided a loose narrative for many songs on the album, including the tracks featuring Future and Kendrick Lamar “All I Know” and “Sidewalks.”
The film, which dropped Nov. 23, two days before “Starboy,” begins by showing a prowling panther, which creates a theme after also being in the “Starboy” music video.
Later in the film, it shows the artist entering a nightclub blanketed in the same blue and red hues that adorn the recent album cover.
Like many other projects by Tesfaye, the short film places beauty amongst violence, ending with Tesfaye singing the tender closing track “I Feel It Coming” feat. Daft Punk with a blood-splattered face.
Overall, the album reiterated what long-time fans have been saying about The Weeknd since his first mixtapes in 2011 — that he’s one of a kind and he has a long music career ahead of him.