The Weeknd’s career path is not uncommon. He was singing about the life he lived. For those who were listeners of his early mixtapes, the man named Abel Tesfaye was known as lonely, a lost substance user who was bad at love. His music was clever and nuanced containing smartly used samples, influential melodies, and staining lyrics that stabbed the hearts of the hundred thousand people who knew his name. Drake, a named that stuck to The Weeknd’s back for quite some time, gave him a boost on “Crew” the smash single we all know and love. He remained mysterious (he still is) and eventually released Kiss Land, an album that only compared with his prior three mixtapes in terms of subject material according to a number of listeners and critics.
Weeknd’s decision to make brighter, less heavy music after his debut obviously paid off with multiple amounts of platinum plaques. His emergence into superstardom through music was not surprising at all, but it is well known that this breakthrough was seen as a drawback artistically for his day ones. Many believed that his decision came with compromise, but they had little to blame him for.
It’s been two years since his last LP, Starboy, and now in present-day he surprisingly released an EP titled My Dear Melancholy, a callback to the strong lyrical ability you can hear in his past works. This led to further intrigue for longtime listeners. The high profile breakups that seem to have fueled the return of the bite in his music are currently at the forefront of conversation. This is the result of a project that only has six tracks.
The opening track, arguably the most heinous, “Call Out My Name” is hazy and atmospheric. The song features the deafening bar “I almost gave you a piece of myself for your life” is speculated to be beyond a metaphorical tirade against women he’s dated in general. Many have theorized it be commentary on Selena Gomez’s recent kidney transplant. The return of the utter harshness of his words and the vagueness of his emotions appeared to be at close to full throttle once again.
On “Wasted Times”, Weeknd echos his misery for failed escapades of love. He ponders what his former lover (reportedly, Bella Hadid) is doing without his presence and claims that he is the only women right for him in a world of users. Still, of course, he can still over her sex. This is a song formula used many times before, but the performance is truly endearing. The slowed down singing near the end adds a great touch as well.
The instrumentals are more minimal than not. There is no bombastic EDM break down. Weeknd trusts his voice alone most the time and appears to deeply care about the effect his words have on the listener. The darkness of “Privilege” is heavily enticing. Here he openly sings about the partaking of substances for a break from his emotions. He addresses his relationship woes while making a fitting red pill, blue pill reference from The Matrix. This similar to the consistent and remorseless drug abuse talk from the days of old.
In the title of the EP, there is a comma. That could be the finishing of a sentence or something arriving soon from the Toronto singer. It could be safe to assume the same kind of material will follow.
Stream My Dear Melancholy, on Apple Music and Spotify.