The Weeknd tops charts with ‘Starboy’

by Julia Marnin
Staff Writer

Canadian rhythm and blues singer and international pop star The Weeknd released his third studio album, “Starboy,” in November 2016. Since its release, the album rose to the top of the charts and currently holds the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100.

With 18 electrifying tracks, “Starboy” is utterly brilliant and unlike anything The Weeknd has released before. Like The Weeknd himself, it is difficult to categorizing the album into one genre “Starboy” is a mix of pop, R&B, disco, hip-hop and electronica all rolled into one.

The Weeknd's music takes a darker, yet still catchy tone on "Starboy."
The Weeknd’s music takes a darker, yet still catchy tone on “Starboy.”

Abel Tesfaye, better known as The Weeknd, stepped onto the music scene in 2011. All of his albums include themes of drugs, sex, love, wealth and fame.

He began as a freelance artist, releasing three mixtapes “House of Balloons,” “Thursday” and “Echoes of Silence” on YouTube in 2011. In 2012, he released his compilation album “Trilogy,” which contains tracks from his three mixtapes and some new ones.

Tesfaye’s first major studio album was “Kiss Land,” which is the least popular of all of his albums.

“Beauty Behind the Madness” is the second and highly successful studio album released by The Weeknd. With its material lighter than his typically darker style, this album propelled him to being one of today’s top pop stars.

“Starboy” marks the singer’s transformation into an actual star. After his previous album, he reached soaring heights of celebrity. Some songs on this album are heavy on the theme of fame, however, the majority of the songs seem to be fixated on a woman.

The sounds of this album are thickly electronic with disco beats in the background. It is fast-paced and makes for the perfect dance music.

The album has many exciting duos as it includes songs featuring popular artists, such as Daft Punk featured in the album’s opening song “Starboy” along with “I Feel It Coming.”

“Starboy” became an instant hit. It opens with Daft Punk’s synth-wave beats that continue throughout the entire song. “I Feel It Coming,” a romantic song about the fear of love, is lighter and upbeat.

The Weeknd showcases an impressive vocal range on many songs on the album. (AP Photo)
The Weeknd explores themes of fame in his lyrics, and sings with an impressive range. (AP Photo)

Another artist featured on the album is Lana Del Rey in “Stargirl Interlude.” It is a shorter track that has a theatrical feel, as Del Rey hits extremely high notes. She appears to be Tesfaye’s foil, as he sings, “I just wanna see you shine because I know you are a stargirl.”

Both artist’s vocals mix together beautifully, which they have proven before in “Prisoner” on his previous album. Del Rey’s voice is briefly included in “Party Monster” toward the end of the song with her singing the word “paranoid” a couple of times.  

The rapper Future is featured in “Six Feet Under” and “All I Know.” The former sounds strikingly similar to Future’s song “Low Life” featuring The Weeknd.

Kendrick Lamar raps on the track “Sidewalks,” which showcases Tesfaye’s powerful vocals as he hits insanely high notes.

The repetition of lyrics makes many of the songs catchy, particularly the song “False Alarm,” which is extremely fast-paced and hectic. Like every song on the album, it is satisfying to the ear.

This album is what fans have been waiting for The Weeknd has set the bar high for himself with “Starboy.”