TDP Review: The Weeknd’s New Singles

This past Saturday night, October 1st, marked the 42nd season premiere of SNL, hosted by Margo Robbie with musical guest the Weeknd. While the main focus of the episode was on the week in politics as the show unveiled their new Trump, played by Alec Baldwin, the real star was the Weeknd. He performed the first two singles from his latest album, Starboy, scheduled to drop on November 25th. Starting with he acclaimed titular track “Starboy,” and finishing with  his latest dance floor noir song “False Alarm,” The Weeknd did not disappoint. Both recently released songs have gained some traction and certainly suggest that there’s a lot to look forward to in Starboy‘s release.

After Abél Makkonen Tesfaye, the musician known as The Weeknd, was so successful with his Billboard topping “Can’t Feel My Face,” Grammy Award-winning “The Hills,” and Academy Award-nominated “Earned It,” he truly is a Starboy. So, it’s no surprise that the title track of his upcoming album is about his huge and rapid rise to fame. As the song says, The Weeknd “took the [last] year like a bandit.” The lyrics, more typical of today’s hip hop songs, taut his accomplishments; brag about the multiple beautiful women he spends his time with; and reference drugs, money, cribs, and cars. The difference is that the song has a rather dark tone, typical of the artist . “Look what you done,” a line prominent in the song’s refrain, carries dual meanings: acknowledge these amazing accomplishments, AND look at the aftermath of success. While the song catalogs evidence of American success, it also seems to be criticizing these definitions of success. Regardless of the artist’s intent here, the song is unquestionably fun. With the dark thoughts of Tesfaye paired with Daft Punk’s subtle dance sounds, it’s a track you will sing along to in the car.

While the somber lyrics of “False Alarm” focus on a superficial and emotionally unavailable woman drawn in by drugs and alcohol and money and jewelry (typical subject matter for the artist), the sound is high energy. This track simultaneously throws back to early 2000’s dance-punk and brings listeners to today with the creative ambient sounds, especially in the intro and outro, and injections of passion most clearly noted in the scream preceding the song’s hook. Whether you are a fan of Abél Makkonen Tesfaye’s music or not, whether you prefer your dance music more authentic or not, this single will get you moving.  That’s the real point, isn’t it?

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