Starboy loses his edge while achieving pop stardom
Abel Tesfaye, aka the Weeknd, emerged as a drugs- and sex-obsessed alt-R&B star upon the release of a series of mixtapes in 2011, later compiled on 2012's Trilogy. Back then, the Toronto-born singer kept his identity a secret, using the mystery as a publicity tool that would pay dividends.
Unsurprisingly, there has been a little less “alt” in each successive Weeknd release. The artist's major label debut, Kiss Land, didn't live up to the hype, but last year's Beauty Behind the Madness turned Tesfaye into a real-deal pop star courtesy singles like “Can't Feel My Face” and “Earned It,” which first showed up on the “Fifty Shades of Grey” soundtrack in 2015 and hit number three on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
The video for the title track of new album Starboy shows Tesfaye murdering his old self, but rather than a reinvention, Starboy as a whole sounds more like Weeknd Lite. (Think twice)