The Weeknd – House of Balloons
Rating: 7 out of 10 Tracy Morgans
The Weeknd aka Abel Tesfaye must have known I’ve been humming/belting old Aaliyah, Ginuwine and Jodeci jams reliving ‘1990s-‘2000s R&B moments lately. Turns out he does ’90s-’00s R&B better than most of the acts in that decade.
The production feels like Swing Mob-era Timbaland mixed with the xx balancing subtlety with darkness and seduction. “The Morning” has that stuttering synth/sound effect that Timbo perfected on tracks like “Pony” and “Are U That Somebody”. “Wicked Games” is the most notable cut from House of Balloons and for good reason. The minimalist background lets Tesfaye croon away on the catchiest hook of the mixtape and emphatically state “Just let me mother******* love you”. Simple, yet effective, eh?
While the production certainly has qualities that align with my heyday, The Weeknd’s lyrics get the point across without wasting time with PG-13 rated lyrics. Swears are fully intact on this one. The singing and lyrics aren’t anything you wouldn’t hear in a recent Trey Songz slow jam (mostly quick love, heartbreak, etc), but Tesfaye belts it like he truly means it. “A” for effort.
House of Balloons (free download here) is a solid introduction to The Weeknd and flashes potential for a new R&B. The kind of R&B I assume Drake was aiming for on Thank Me Later, but couldn’t achieve So Far Gone heights.
The Weeknd – Wicked Games
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