One year after the outstanding success of Beauty behind the madness, The Weeknd, also known as Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, is back on the scenes with Starboy. The new album by the canadian golden boy consists of 18 solid tracks,and it has the hard task of equalling its predecessor, both in a commercial and artistic way. Task that seems to have been accomplished just fine, particularly as regards the sales and the public success: all of the 18 tracks appeared on the Hot 100 Billboard Chart, an incredible achievement, second only to Drake’s “Views”, that charted all of the 20 tracks.
But is this success deserved? Was Abel actually capable of repeating himself after his previous masterpiece? In part.
Starboy starts with the homonymous track, one of the most impactful singles of the album. The beat made by Daft Punk, Abel’s incredible voice, the catchy sound: everything in this track seems planned to dominate the charts worldwide. And the result is exactly what expected: a perfect single, incredibly well made and effective.
Party Monster, the second track, is an anticipation of what is wrong with this album: a boring, chorus lead RnB ballade, that seems to be there just as a filler.
The album than hit a new high with False Alarm, a great single and a real banger. Criticized for the gruesome video, in which The Weeknd acts the part of a violent robber, this track, with its echoing Crystal-Castles-like refrain, is probably the most interesting and unique in the entire album.
The successive tracks are actually good, with the best probably being Rockin’, a party hit that could perfectly fit in a Disclosure album, and Sidewalks, with a perfect (as usual) featuring from Kendrick Lamar.
Than, everything changes. The entire second half of the album seems to be there just to protract it, but it ends up watering it down. None of the remaining tracks are particularly bad, nor good, they just feel useless.
Even the Daft Punk infused final track, I Feel It Coming, does not stand out in this creative void.
Starboy is not a masterpiece, neither a return to House of Balloons and the Trilogy; Starboy is an unfinished good project, with some really good ideas drowned in a huge amount of uneffective and worthless tracks.
Abel’s talent is still undeniable, and his terrific voice saves the album from mediocrity, but the longtime fans will probably be disappointed.