The Weeknd Brings Back the Balloons with ‘My Dear Melancholy,’

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On his surprise new EP/mini-album, The Weeknd has finally found the perfect balance between his pop superstar sensibilities and his dark and moody roots. My Dear Melancholy, documents The Weeknd’s relationships with Selena Gomez and Bella Hadid; the title as apt, Abel wallows in his pain and self-pity. My Dear Melancholy, is at times vindictive, but mainly it is brooding and visceral in its transparency and truth.

Distorted piano riffs and fuzzy synths are the backbones of the album’s soundscape, while the Weeknd plays with his lower range and vocoders to convey his intense morose. Whether he is acknowledging his own missteps, proposing break-up sex, or dragging his exes, the album is 22 minutes of unfiltered Abel Tesfaye.

My Dear Melancholyis more House of Balloons than Starboy, and it is for the better. The less “pop” Abel is, the rawer his lyrics are. “What makes a grown man wanna cry?/What makes him wanna take his life?/His happiness is never real/And mindless sex is how he feels, ooh, he feels,” is the easily the most gut-wrenching lyric of 2018 so far. Featuring collaborations with Starrah, Gesaffelstein, and Frank Dukes this new mini-album is conscious of the growth of Abel’s status but still steadfast in it its push for quality.

Score: 80

Key Tracks: “I Was Never There,” “Hurt You”

 

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