After what seemed like ages, the highly anticipated album Starboy was recently released on Nov. 25 by highly acclaimed R&B singer The Weeknd. With over 18 tracks comprised of hits “Starboy” and “I Feel It Coming” featuring Daft Punk, The Weeknd manages to enthrall us with his soulful voice that has an all too familiar sound of Michael Jackson’s.
Stardom has had a major impact on The Weeknd’s life, and he makes sure his fans are aware of the changes with hints throughout the album. Recognized for his wild hairstyle, the “new” Weeknd shocked the world with his shorter hair. It seemed as if the trademark and identity of The Weeknd had been completely erased. However, that was not the only change that was easily noticeable; it was apparent that the style had dramatically changed from dark, twisted songs that appeared in “Fifty Shades of Grey” to more upbeat and poppy musics. The Weeknd has transformed in a matter of years, which leaves listeners anxious and set the stage for Starboy.
The album highlights a diverse group of sounds in the features, from the honeyed artist Lana Del Rey to the gruff rappers Future and Kendrick Lamar. However, The Weeknd limits the amount of featured artists to make sure he is not outshined and faded out of his own album. Even in tracks with other singers, The Weeknd finds a way to shine in the light with his catchy hooks and unique and popular voice.
The Weeknd has recently been struggling in identifying with a specific genre, especially after recent criticism from his fans for his slow shift towards pop songs. With the critique came rumors that the artist was a “sell-out.” The Weeknd responded with a wide variety of styles incorporated into the songs in the album. Starboy includes genres from electro-music to slow, mellow vibes.
The first song in the album that stood out to me was the single “Starboy,” was available for the public 3 days prior to the album release date. The song has earned the reputation as the best song on the album, and is likely to become a massive hit in the mainstream music market. In “Starboy,” The Weeknd contemplates whether the success he always desired was actually what he wanted. He claims the haters in his career are the reason for his recent fame in becoming one of the best artists in the world.
The next song addresses a theme that has been overly covered by rappers in the past, yet The Weeknd managed to put his own spin on it. “Six Feet Under” talks about how women spend their whole lives fixated on becoming rich and will do whatever it takes to live a lavish lifestyle. The Weeknd explains how these women will never be able to truly experience the feeling of love and continue to pursue their desire for money until they are dead and “six feet under.” The second verse of the song is similar to the flow of an older song by Future called “Low Life,” which featured The Weeknd.
Although it received enthusiastic reviews, Starboy doesn’t shine that bright in all aspects. The songs eventually become repetitive with similar hooks, an immediate turn-off for several listeners. The Weeknd continues to tell stories about his lifestyle full of drugs, sex, and fame, just like every other artist in the industry.
What Starboy lacks in originality and variance, it makes up for in multiple pop songs that are bound to reach the top of the charts. The Weeknd waited over a year for Starboy and definitely did not disappoint his followers. After an impressive reception from Starboy, the future seems bright for the new and transformed artist.