Saturday, January 2, 2016

Beauty Behind the Madness - The Weeknd

This is the sophomore album by Abel Tesfaye. This follows the very disappointing Kiss Land, which had two songs that I liked (and it was just like). But the thing is I have to be completely honest. That song, Earned It, that just came out I loved it. I honestly think that is the best song he's done yet. I can't believe that how gorgeous the strings are and how good it sounds. I was excited to see he added Often, I love it. I also like the title, though not huge on the cover. When the track listing came out I didn't feel any more excited really. The only thing I was pumped for was an official album for Often and that Lana Del Rey track.
  1. Real Life: The first time I heard this I though it'd be perfect as a 90's song. I dig it, its a solid track. I mean it's not a 10, but at least a 7. Even though I think it's kinda cheesy sounding. I mean I like the guitar in the intro, and the fuzz. The strings then come in and you get a different direction feeling. On all prior releases most of the instruments were sampled or in the background. This is more in the forefront. This is a good track, that I think is pretty nice chorus. I like the harmonies on this and it gives this feeling of new. I was glad, and still am glad this is on here. This gives your a very hopeful feeling for whats to come. And lyrically there isn't anything that rubs me the wrong way.
  2. Losers: This track features Labrinth. This is a solid track. The piano reminds me of How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore. This song has the best part as the sole piano (well mostly sole) and vocals. I like the transition and the resolution into the chorus, but the chorus is not as great as I want. The whole off feeling is neat, and the horns make it have this New Orleans feeling.... maybe. But It's just a bit too off. The breakdown/bridge I could do without. I like that it's there, but I could personally do without it. The part where it bothers me the least is at the ending, but I think the ending isn't anything that is blowing me away. I feel like this should have more emotion and "soul".
  3. Tell Your Friends: this track features someone named Carlos and was produced by five people, one of them being Kanye. I'm going to be 100% honest, that intro reminds me of Lil B. Either that or Bound 2. But the song, well the lyrics are a lot more understandable and basically that, plus the chorus of the song...................... The song is kind of ruined. I like how he did something different, but still. I don't like this. And that distortion at the ending, sounds like a talk box fucked a vocoder.... Not digging it.
  4. Often: I actually really like this song, and it is better than anything on Kiss Land. Though it doesn't hold up as well as Enemy, for me. And about its inclusion; even though it's been out for over a year, I can let it pass. As long as there are great deep cuts, this will be a solid record. Some of the lyrics aren't very good. For whatever reason, when the album was released, I began to loose interest in this song. The lyrics here are kind of dumb, but they don't ruin the song for me.
  5. The Hills: I was surprised by this song, I liked it. I still don't think that it is on par with Earned It. But you know, idk. Then, thought I kinda feel like this should effect the music aspect..... I don't like the lyrics. Maybe I've grown up, and grown out of the shallowness of lyrics like "I want to leave the Friendzone", thought I never really gave two fucks. There was a shallowness on Houses that appealed to me, not knowing it was shallowness. I still do enjoy Houses, but this is like that with the pointlessness of Kiss Land. By the time this reviews going up I am tired of this song. Like to the point of not liking it at all. Like to paint a better picture, when I hear this song now I get irritated and just want to change the station.
  6. Acquainted: I don't know what to make of this track, maybe it's the last track or the loss of interest, but I don't think this is anything that I'll remember. I don't really care though to remember this track. It's not like, I want to remember this.
  7. Can't Feel My Face: A very poppy song, that isn't half bad. In all honesty its one of the better songs of the year, I have heard. It's probably the best new one I've heard on the radio for sure. I mean, is this song played a lot and lost some of its enjoy-ability a bit.... Yes. Do I still like this song, 
  8. Shamless: or a theme to the ShowTime television show of the same name. :) not really, but the second this starts I get nervous. That acoustic guitar, and this style don't really often go over well with me. This really goes in one ear and out the other.
  9. Earn It (Fifty Shades of Grey): I am a little pissed that this is on the album, so I'm not counting it towards the score. To me, this will always be a b-side from the 50 Shades of Grey album. The track is an 8 but it doesn't count towards the score, because of it. I mean there was tons of things they could have done, a remix (N.W.A.'s Straight Outta Compton had 2 remixes of songs from N.W.A. and the Posse). They could had also done a rerecording, tons of people from David Bowie to Steve Reich to Reel Big Fish. Thought I doubt the end product would be better than  the original, but you never know. The only difference is there's an intro that is 30 or 40 seconds and it ultimately amounts to nothing. But I should talk about the beautiful string arrangement, the awesome vocal performance of Abel and the chamber pop vibe. While I loved this at first, I've progressively fallen out of love with it. It's still one of the best here, its just.... Not the same as it once was. The thrill is gone, if you will. 
  10. In The Night: This has a MJ feeling.It's fun, but again I'll forget this by the time the tracks over. I'm not being a dick I just don't find this interesting enough to remember.
  11. As You Are: As a Friend? As you want me to be? What about if it's as a memory? This kind of reminds me of a track off KissLand.
  12. Dark Times: This track features Ed Sheeran. And honestly, this is another decent track. I mean I enjoy it, but again........ much like the other tracks after I listen to it I can't remember any of it. :(
  13. Prisoner: This track features Lana Del Rey. And I like it, I don't LOVE it but it's a solid track. I read some where someone said Lana's verses gave them chills.... Yeah, I'm not remotely feeling that. The closest to chills is that, oh this movie will scare you shitless.... And then you feel the feeling like your about to shit yourself.... Before, nothing. But I understand this song, the chorus kinda hands the meaning to you on a silver platter. I feel like it's so watered down. I like South Park, I've been watching it a lot lately. I've come to notice the best episodes are the ones where they don't tell you what it's making fun of. You know from the story or plot instead pf them handing it to you. There's a difference between explaining the problem, or making it easier to understand, vs telling people what it is. Like the movie, I read about it while I was watching it and I was like, the whole Terrence and Phillip thing I didn't pick up on.... that was until he devil explained it. Then someone else did and if you don't get the joke by the end of the movie you never will. This just feels very watered down to appeal to people who have "shallow" forms of "depression". I mean why not let people understand on their own rather than basically spelling out your depressed. 
  14. Angel: "come and save me tooonight". This song isn't that bad, its a nice ending. "It took me by surprise, I must say when I found out" Vinnie Colaiuta was drumming on this album the time I did that one "day". When I listen to this album its kind of like the end of an era. I'll probably repeat myself after this but this truly is the " last straw" that was me in High School and me now. This song could somewhat symbolize the death of the old me, and my music marks the birth of the more mature me. I probably sound high, but its almost like a dirge. While I wish the dirge was better, it kind of can't be too good or else I would still live in "what if". This truly is, the last Weeknd record I'll probably ever hear and last I'll review (in terms of release date, I'm still doing the prior releases).
Overall I have to give this a 5/10. If I'm being honest this is much better than Kiss Land and of the five releases he's put out this is his 4th best. The thing is I lost hope in him with the last LP. The singles on here revitalized my faith in his music. And the thing is its not like I put grew his music. I still like tracks off the mixtapes, but honestly, that's the best material he's put out. Anything prior to his studio debut is really still petty solid. I don't think he's gonna be able to recapture that excitement for me. Maybe it could be nostalgic reasons, but I still love the mixtapes, they did after all play (and were on play) a huge part in (and during) my senior year. I don't know, at least there was ambition here. I feel this will be my last hurrah with my High School " hero". It's what I imagine to be going to a party with the cool kids, then realizing "wait..... These people have no personality, why am I spending time with these jerks? They aren't cool, they are just shallow and dull people". In all honesty, if I'm being objective, the lyrics are what kills the album (though the songs don't help). Well not kill so much as hurt its from being better. The music is good to decent, but the words.... Thumbs down. I also need to say I'm not any better, or any worse off, than anyone else. I'm white, middle class, I have it pretty good. So I'm not saying I'm any more depressed or in touch with real emotions than anyone else. Now back to the lyrics. I feel they way they are presented he's tortured, depressed, doesn't want to be a star. The type that drinks to repress their emotions of self loathing, which whatever if he doesn't want to be. (I'm in no way qualified to diagnose anyone with anything, by the way). But outside of the substance abuse, I have the whole self loathing thing in common. I can't say if he truly feels that way, because I'm not Abel. But the way he presents his pain, through his lyrics, its someone who thinks he's depressed. Someone who thinks he hates himself, not someone who truly hates himself, not someone who feels the self loathing to its worst. Not someone who has bursts of crippling depression and has to learn to deal with it. I feel like there are tons of movies where it seems to be hip to do the self loathing/depressed writer or entertainer. It's almost like people are too afraid to do "exploitation" films about anything else. And these have become the newest form of exploitation.... Here is the best illustration I can give. If you hate the fame, don't go along with it. Don't do stupid shit that promotes your album. In fact don't even promote music, just drop it. If you really are that depressed, and your aware of this drinking thing not helping, why drink? I feel like a lot of this isn't a hurt person as much as a hurt character, or a person who believes they hurt, when in reality its because they didn't get the newest iPhone... Catch my drift. 

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