The Weeknd: Buzz and Backlash in the Tumblr Era
by Mike Ramos
on Tue, Sep 10, 2013 at 10:01 AM
(Paramount) Abel Tesfaye—aka the Weeknd—put on a veritable clinic in how to make it in the music biz (ca. 2k12) with his House of Balloons/Thursday/Echoes of Silence free mixtape trilogy, released under a guise of faux-anonymity and cosigned by fellow Torontonian R&B/sort-of-rap star Drake. Though his initial buzz has waned, the Weeknd's first official album, Kiss Land, drops September 9, and judging from the title track and accompanying NSFW video, Tesfaye has either really gotten into this year's Tumblr-wave/VHS-Shinjuku aesthetic or he really enjoyed his last couple of Japanese tours. The track, however, fails to be as interesting as the visuals—simply jacking a beat used much better by Main Attrakionz (on their "Nothin' Gonna Change") and throwing another previously released beat from producer Silky Johnson's 2012 Hater of the Year mixtape in for the second half of the contrived seven-minute opus. Let's hope the band-backed live performance will outweigh the Weeknd's apparent lack of originality. With Anna Lunoe and Banks.See also My Philosophy.