Friday, November 25, 2016

The Weeknd STARBOY (2016)

Mr. Tesfaye has an increasingly good ear for production, is writing more memorable lyrics, and in general is an idiosyncratic force on pop radio with his own formula for hologram soul music that works more often than not.  It seems to me to be music from the future we imagined in the 80's, like it is exploring an alternate present. At a bemusing 1h8m, he hits the wall halfway through.  The collaboration with Daft Punk is a perfect pairing, and I hope it's not the last. Future and Kendrick show up and the force of their personalities are a welcome diversion--Tesfaye needs to ask for help more often. His spiritual girlfriend Lana Del Ray shows up for such a brief interlude I'm not sure why they bothered.  They need to duet.  Likewise, Sam Smith and Justin Timberlake lent backup vocals but should have been given more work.  They could have lifted and brought some of these songs into relief, where they now disintegrate back into the electro-pop ether.  Thank heaven for small favors: The Weeknd is not MJ like he wants to be, but he is light years better than Chainsmokers and their ilk.   I guess the lesson this year is that we're already in Westworld, and sometimes the androids are safer allies than the humans.

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