Just over a year ago Able Tesfaye, known more widely by his super star persona The Weeknd, released his overly flashy album “Starboy,” the follow up to his Grammy winning “The Beauty, Behind the Madness” (TBBTM).
With Able teasing on Instagram that he was back in the studio working on new music, the world waited in anticipation for him to release the first single. On March 29, Able posted artwork for what many thought might be his new single, called “My Dear Melancholy,.” But fans in London noticed a suspicious billboard that stated “New album from The Weeknd out now.” Accidentally put up a day early and tweeted by fans, the world was now just hours away from another full album by The Weeknd.
Late in the evening of Thursday, March 29, The Weeknd released his surprise album titled “My Dear Melancholy,.” With a tracklist of just six songs, it blurs the lines between EP and album. Able captures the ups and downs of heartbreak, a new look for the pill-popping womanizer the world fell for on TBBTM.
The album opens with the jaw-droppingly lush track “Call Out My Name.” The track contains Able’s truest and most moving vocal performance to date. When Able cries out “I said I didn’t feel nothing, baby, but I lied”, his goosebump inducing voice echoes similar tones and raspiness of the late King of Pop, Michael Jackson. Singing over a similar quiet piano once heard on his smash hit “Earned It,” Able builds off of the past while still progressing his musical capabilities with hints of trap production heard on “Starboy.”
“Try Me,” similar to “Call Out My Name,” is a combination of two eras of The Weeknd — the vocal performance of his Trilogy mixtapes and the new wave electric production of “Starboy.” Once again Able lets down his guard and makes it clear that his ex is “..the best I ever had,” again a new look for the usually suave and carefree womanizer. This change in Ables attitude is most clearly seen in the outro to “Try Me,” where Able starts with “Don’t you mess with me” and ends with “Don’t you miss me, baby?”.
After four tracks of moping about his ex(s) and lost love, Able find his old self again on “Hurt You,” featuring Gesaffelstein. On the opening line to “Hurt You,” Able declares “and now I know relationship’s my enemy/ So stay away from me”. With help from Daft Punk, the song’s production includes samples from both “Starboy” and “I Feel It Coming” off of Ables last album.
On “Privilege,” Able finds peace with his ex and instead of taking shots at past lovers Able sings “so, let’s just try and end it with a smile”. Although still sad, there is a light at the end of a very dark tunnel for Able. As he returns to form on his outro track, he covers familiar ground as his life returns to sex, drugs and alcohol.
“My Dear Melancholy,” contains the most cohesive storyline of any album The Weekend has put out yet, moving from day old heartbreak on “Call Out My Name,” to self-deprecation on “Wasted Time,” to reconciling with his ex on “Hurt You” and finally returning to his old ways on “Privilege.”
Criticism surrounding “Starboy” and “TBBTM” focused heavily on the fact that both albums ran far longer than necessary, and could benefit from simply cutting away at some of the album’s excess fat. “My Dear Melancholy,” takes past criticism and runs with it, clocking in at 21 minutes — one of Able’s shortest and most concise set of tracks.
Although the radio stations might skip on playing tracks from “My Dear Melancholy,” any Weeknd fan will find this album to be an enjoyable listen, with Able curating sounds from all of his past work there’s something for everyone on his latest project.
Colton Newman is the photo editor and a music writer for the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com or on Twitter @Coltonperson.