Starboy, The Weeknd, 2016: Throwing Reliance on Radio Singles to the Wind

Album of the Week: Starboy, The Weeknd, 2016

The Weeknd released their third studio album at the end of 2016, with Starboy getting plugged in every radio station around the country and topping charts, such as spotify and billboard. Initially, I didn’t approach the Weeknd with welcoming arms, but that was a poor case in judgement. What’s the moral of this story? Don’t judge an album by its cover. Just kidding. Don’t judge an album based on one song! That may sound obvious to the universe and I’m probably getting frowned upon by all you music aficionados but honestly, I’ve learned a great deal just from Starboy.

5 things to take away from the Starboy album.

  1. GO CANADA! The Weeknd aka Abel Makkonen Tesfaye is Canadian?? Canadians again FTW. Add this to the “Great Things That Come From Canada” list; Trudeau, both Ryans, Drake, Sandra Oh, and poutine, but this reinforces a refreshing take that Canada has nice things. And yes, we can have nice things. Canada is officially killing it in the last two three years, way to go. So, thank you, America’s hat. Make Canada great again!
  2. STOP HATING: When 50 Shades of Grey decided to show up on our radars, I immediately backed away. Sorry Weeknd, “Earned It” made me slightly judgmental and unwilling to try again. But with Starboy, you’ve created a game changer Abel Tesfaye. (Disclaimer: I still remain convinced 50 Shades of Grey will be the reason why we can’t have nice things. But thank god for Canada, am I right?) The album definitely reminded me to remain opened minded. Post-election blues can be such a downer, but this album will remind you to be appreciative of new sounds, new talents, and ideas. Break out of your cynical shell and absorb the beats.
  3. Crowd pleasing album. Put this on at a house party, at the beach, dinner, and it wouldn’t piss anyone off. Aside from the parties it fits pretty much any situation, romantic ones especially. (To those of you who played this on Spotify while you enjoyed your Valentine’s day weekend, we tip our hats to you.)
  4. Lyrical Wordsmith Genius. Move over Kanye. Were done with you for now. The album paints vivid narratives and weaves poetic and gut wrenching honest truths about love and loss. The acknowledgement you hear in “I Feel It Coming” is so honest, brutal at times. Take for instance.

“You’ve been scared of love and what it did to you,

You don’t have to run, I know what you’ve been through.”

Even in “Nothing Without You”

“Don’t stop your loving, it’s all I have, Cuz I can’t function, no I won’t last,

I swear I’ll love you just like the past, Cuz I know what’s pain, this is not the same”

  1. Plucking inspiration. The album plucked elements and notes from genres ranging from 80’s electronica synth, hip hop, a little R&B and even Michael Jackson. You definitely hear that vibe in a lot of songs, “I Feel It Coming” brings that out. Starboy also takes hints of the electronica styles from artists like Kygo, Odesza, Flume, and of course, Daft Punk. (The collaboration with Daft Punk is pure genius! We hope to see Daft Punk emerge with a global tour. Stop teasing us on twitter).

Starboy has defied my own expectations for albums and woke me out of the complacency that has been so hinged on listening to singles, but singles no more.

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