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Music Review: The Weeknd – Thursday

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Abel Tesfaye worked in the shadows for a bit while his neo-R&B project The Weeknd attracted attention, but the time came for the man to reveal a little bit about the makings of the strangely smooth and caustic releases he’s been putting out under the Weeknd moniker.

The second in a three part series, Thursday isn’t any less dramatic, intense, or thick than the premier album in the trilogy, House of Balloons. We hear the same slow-building swirls of samples and echo-laden strings and guitars, and the same pained vocals of Tesfaye rising to a powerful wail above the colliding atmospheres.

What makes Thursday an exciting listen are the small changes from House of Balloons. The latter had its propulsive movements, but for the most part it was stylishly sluggish and cold. Thursday has more movement and more impetus–“Lonely Star” has a drum track snappy enough that you could almost grind to it; “The Zone” is a screwed, dirty ballad with a guest verse from Drake that gives the album some vocal variety.  The slinky “Life of The Party” may get old after multiple spins, but it’s not so murky that it becomes dull.

Thursday is a short leap for Tesfaye, but it’s an elegant album that merges well with House of Balloons while pointing forward to what we can expect to be another excellent release this year from one of R&B’s most promising–if mysterious–young acts.

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