The Weeknd's Starboy: What You Need To Know
Little more than a year since Canadian singer-songwriter Abel Tesfaye – better known as The Weeknd – unleashed his second album Beauty Behind the Madness, this week he's back with his third. Starboy arrives in stores today (you can preview and purchase the album on the right-hand side of this page), here's everything you need to know.
A little background...
The Weeknd was already talking up his third album as far back as March this year, hinting at a new “chapter” intended as a follow-up to his 2012 compilation Trilogy, comprising all his previously released mixtapes. Given the proximity to the recently released second album, some had wondered whether this might be a compilation of unreleased offcuts, but it was confirmed to be a 'proper' album in August when Republic Records chief exec Wendy Goldstein first announced news of some exciting collaborators...
Who's producing it?
There are quite a few people with production credits on the album, but the ever-present is Doc McKinney, who has been working with The Weekend since the beginning of his career and produced much of the material on those early mixtapes, as well as his first two albums. Cirkut, another regular collaborator, is also present on around half of the album's 18 tracks. Elsewhere there are contributions from Jake One, Benny Blanco, Labrinth, Cashmere Cat and Diplo, among several others, as well as two tracks co-produced with Daft Punk.
Any special guests?
The aforementioned French duo make guest appearances on the album's lead-off single and title track, as well as album closer 'I Feel It Coming'. Future adds vocals to 'All I Know' and Kendrick Lamar makes an appearance on 'Sidewalks', while 'Stargirl Interlude' and 'Party Monster' both feature an appearance by Lana Del Rey.
What does it sound like?
Tesfaye commented back in September that the production was more “aggressive” on this album and in places it's easy to see what he means, particularly on the more frenetic sections of 'False Alarm'. Daft Punk infuse their vocoder and sun-drenched Californian vibes on both the title track and 'I Feel It Coming', the latter being a particular highlight of the new album.
Elsewhere, The Weeknd continues to straddle and blend the pop, R&B and dance genres in his own unique way and there's plenty of experimentation with different styles and flavours across the album's 18 songs. There's definitely a harder edge to the album's production this time around, but it really works and counterbalances the light touch of his vocals. Just like with Bruno Mars, The Weekend really sounds more and more like he's channelling Michael Jackson, which is definitely no bad thing.
Does it deliver?
As far as his fans are concerned, The Weeknd can do no wrong at the moment and this is an album that will only cement their adulation. Some of the more experimental moments might throw the listener off course now and then, but this is clearly an artist who is really hitting his stride and Starboy feels like another confident step forward. You can find the video for the title track below...