It’s been seven years since House of Balloons came out. Can that even be true? March the 20th 2011. 2011. Ages ago. I still remember going on the old cryptic http://the-weeknd.com/ when the site was still a black background page with just a free download link to the music. Not the overloaded thing it is right now. But still, who cares. Abel aka The Weeknd just dropped a new EP as a total surprise and it feels like 2011 all over again. Can you remember when the guy was releasing three major mixtapes in just a year? The quality is back again. Sure, we are excited. Just even hearing that he is still able to deliver quality lyrics is a surprise after what the guy has been through, but there’s more.
The production is great, the feel is sober again, the bangers are more subtle, there are no stupid marketing campaigns and no trash featuring. Sure, the Youtube ads or the listening through a streaming service might make the experience different but let’s look forward. A friend sent the link to the EP through just moments after the release saying that “The House of Balloons The Weeknd” was back and I couldn’t bloody believe her as soon as I heard it. How could she even say that literally seconds into the release? Presses play Oh, now I see. Yes, it’s him.
The sound is crisp and everything is beautifully drowned into reverb as it used to be. There’s a quality to Abel’s voice that had long gone. The whole thing doesn’t taste like plastic as it did for ages and everything feels finally sincere and honest. Ok, let’s be calm though, the tracks are great, the concept is solid, the whole thing flows amazingly, there is not one moment of mainstream overproduced bullshit but let’s try to stay serious. What we’ve got here is just a glimpse of the greatness House of Balloons showed. Where are “The High for This”s or “What I Need”s of this new release? No way he is ever going to be back on those levels. He doesn’t have those kind of shots anymore and that’s ok. Expecting that stuff all over again is total utopia. What we are really acknowledging today all over again is that was one of the best records of its genre to be ever released period.
This said, today is party day. It’s Friday and The Weeknd just dropped the best tracks he has ever released in about seven years, how can we even make serious considerations. It’s time to enjoy. What at the end of the day really ruined our whole experience for the last couple of years with Abel wasn’t really the music being super bad. Even “Can’t Feel My Face” or the OST for Fifty Shades of Grey weren’t the worst thing you could hear in the world in the end. Actually, they were probably the best songs you could bump into on the radio for a while. What has always seriously been wrong has been that the music has never been the real goal in ages. Finally the tunes are back on focus and all the rest is gone. You can finally listen to The Weeknd without feeling into a giant shopping mall.