The Weeknd is strong and dedicated, and he knows it. His latest, Echoes of Silence, places a unique spin on the latest hip-hop trend that throws new beats on older songs, sampling heavily within the last year. The Weeknd does it his own way just as he did with the entire R&B/hip-hop genre. He slams down all other attempts to reinvent other classics by simply covering a song and not sampling it–which borrows from, but does not fully copy–and performing it with heavy rock and R&B intensity.
In “D.D.,” The Weeknd reincarnates Michael Jackson as he proclaims “Dirty Diana” with glory and fine intent. This starts the album by shutting down every other force and demanding attention from its audience. It sounds like a work of his own, which it partly is, but at the end of the day, it’s still Jackson’s. How could this have happened so swiftly?
The Weeknd is doing it right. Releasing three mixtapes (which could just as well be considered LPs) so near to each other gives us a taste of what we already like to hear, and it doesn’t allow for enough time for him to evolve in the meantime. He’s established importance and consistency within a matter of months, as many publications (including ourselves) recognized by the end of the year. This man aims to please, and he gets away with nearly everything. He also does it with style and class. On top of all that, these were all completely free.
Each release of his has been highly praised as much as it has been highly scrutinized by fans and critics. There can be a common theme taken from each of the mixtapes, which all carried the same sound but varied in each of their motifs. Individually, they allow the theme to carry the tunes depending on the mood of the songs in the set. But overall, they were connected by Abel Tesfaye’s sexy mixing and totally unique vocal work, which outshined any other category.
The latest work here is a combination of high-intensity stories, rich falsetto bits and ridiculously grounding flows. He might tend to get a little caught up in the more tranquil side if we’re being completely honest. When listeners get past the first half of the album, they’ll have finished with the most beat-heavy songs, and past that is all sultry R&B. It is all very low and slow, almost mashing together into one dreamlike sequence near the end with songs such as “XO / The Host” and “Next.” At least the title track bookends the trilogy with an encompassing look back, tying in the most essential words of the album for a magnificent exit.
If only the songs weren’t each six minutes long, we would be able to fully appreciate their worth. This is where The Weeknd gets too engaged in his script and listeners are lost. At this point, he’s become aware of his dedication and his potential as he secures an awe-inspiring approach to the hip-hop scene. Let’s just hope he doesn’t take himself too seriously from now on because the three-part prologue to his career has been a brilliant head start.
The Weeknd – Echoes of Silence tracklist:
- “X.O. / The Host”
- “Same Old Song”
- “The Fall”
- “Echoes of Silence”