Review: The Weeknd-My Dear Melancholy
April 11, 2018
One of the biggest pop stars in the world, The Weeknd, dropped a relatively surprising EP.
The Weeknd has solidified his name as one of the biggest stars in music and pop culture because of his blend of R&B, rap, and pop. His last two albums, Beauty Behind the Madness and Starboy each went multi-platinum and had number one hits on the Billboard charts.
This project was conceived and created in the very small gap between finishing up the last leg of his Starboy: Legend of the Fall Tour and the start of his festival run where he will headline Coachella and Lollapalooza Chicago.
Leading up to this record, we got word from rapper Travis Scott, who said that the new project by The Weeknd would be a return to his artsy side that was showcased on his mixtapes.
What we got was My Dear Melancholy, a six track EP that brought shades of both his newer material and his older material presented on Trilogy. It only runs at 22 minutes, which is a solid length for how much we got on here.
There is a lot to like about this EP. Like always, The Weeknd’s vocal delivery is head and shoulders above his contemporaries. He switches up his style a tad with a decent amount of vocoder use throughout the project, which goes over well on most of this thing.
On the last couple releases, The Weeknd had put a lot of features on there. Despite many of these guests spots being decent or good, Abel’s reliance on features weren’t big on his earlier projects. My Dear Melancholy, is a return to form for the Toronto crooner as there is only one person featured on the six tracks and he didn’t even contribute vocally. This footnote shows that this EP is a more personal one to The Weeknd.
The lyrics on this EP really represent a more somber tone about losing out on love and heartbreak. While themes like these are very similar to those expressed on earlier projects and his infatuation with sex and drugs is nothing new, there is a greater sense of intimacy. The Weeknd most likely made this due to his failed relationships with both Bella Hadid and Selena Gomez. With this little bit of context, The Weeknd strips away a lot of his swagger from Starboy to really let all of his sadness show.
The production on My Dear Melancholy, is pretty decent. The lone feature, Gesaffelstein, who was featured on two tracks, added his production talents and made “I Was Never There” and “Hurt You” my two favorites on the EP. The way that the first of the two songs is mixed is very beautiful, as The Weeknd just slides in very softly and he lets the music the music really take control. The key change right in the middle goes over without a hitch.
However, there are a couple of things that hold it back from being amazing.
My Dear Melancholy, was not much of a switch up from what he has been doing in the past. Whether or not that is a good thing is really up to you, but I personally feel like he could have maybe taken this in a different direction and switched up his style. This is not a big knock on The Weeknd vocally because I think his voice is one of the most developed and incredible in music today. But on most of the hooks, they sound merely rehashes of older material, especially on “Call Out My Name,” which sounds like it could have come off Beauty Behind the Madness.
Also, The Weeknd stays in his little pocket thematically by talking about drugs, sex, and love, which he has been known for over his entire career. While he is a massive pop sensation with a ton of crossover appeal into other genres, him just rephrasing what he has said on every single project is not innovative. This record was fairly predictable and not a change of pace from Abel.
I generally think that this is a good EP from The Weeknd and I will still be looking to forward to whatever full-length album he has on the way, but there are some nitpicks that keep it from great.