Ruminations on TV Shows, Comics, And Music
I wasn't sure which discography I was going to do after Queen. I kind of wanted to do Gomez, but that felt too similar. I debated tossing up a couple of Best Of albums of artists that only have about one disc worth of material that I like. Then, I realized I had a pretty great Michael Jackson discography. But I was missing the Jackson 5 era, and wanted to take some time listening through that material before I decided how to divvy it up. But while listening to Jackson, I realized I did have a discography at the ready, The Weeknd!
One of my exes in 2011 was super into the Thursday mixtape so we listened to it quite a bit. But, unlike some of his other obsessions, I really liked The Weeknd, and have bought their albums whenever I hear a new one is released.
This past January, I was out buying a new cell phone when the sales person pointed out that the shoes I was wearing are the same pattern The Weeknd's orange camouflage outfit. We went out for drinks after.
I don't have any bad associations with The Weeknd, the way that there is a major mental hoop one has to jump through to listen to Michael Jackson's music. So I decided to do The Weeknd first!
If you're not familiar with their work, or have only heard their singles, cool. Welcome. This is going to be a mellow, slow journey. If you currently do, or once did any downers, you're probably going to be nostalgic for them in a non-toxic way. If you've been Straight Edge forever, that's cool, there's a bunch of intense, slow love songs in your future. You may get paranoid that you can see The Weeknd gazing through your window at you, Sure, it's a little creepy, but they're not going to hurt you, they're just sad, and staring at you reminds them of something they loved once. It's cool.
A lone bass riff evokes a bit of The White Stripes before the atmosphere drops us in the middle of The Weeknd's sadness. Where were you when I needed you eight months ago? is pretty much a great first line to introduce you to the experience of this album. For real, where were you? The Weeknd is sad, and it's your fault. It's The Same Old Song, which is, thankfully, not some heavily sampled Four Tops remix, but it's just a guy who thinks you've been fucking around on him. But he's not going to judge you too harshly because he has Definitely been fucking around on you. He does want you to rue the day he got famous, though. He's got that Lady Gaga Revenge Fever running through his veins.
There's a lot of Michael Jacksonesque crooning around this (and every other) song, and it quickly gives way to the drumbeat of Montreal. Here, The Weeknd is going to go all Carly Simon on you and let you know that this song is totally not about you, even though it totally could be. He also spends quite a bit of the song singing in French because he's bilingualer than you, and really thinks you should learn another language. His language. Learn to understand him. Though, Happiness exists when you don't know a thing.
Forgive me a little bit of laziness on this section of the album. You know I love to let songs flow into each other. Well, so does The Weeknd. They did a lot of work for me. So, just like on the original album, "Montreal" gives way to The Outside. There's a touch of Seinfeld here, as The Weeknd wants you to show him your ex's moves. Not just any ex. The one you really loved, and the one you lusted for. The Weeknd is going to take that move, work you like a pro, and improve it until you can't live without him. He is going to fuck you all night, baby. Partly because he really loves both you and sex, and partly because the drugs have made it so that he has trouble climaxing. And baby when (he's) finished with you / you won't wanna go outside. Probably because he came on your clothes. He's a mess.
I'm still riding his tracklist, as we segue into XO, where The Weeknd wants you to play The Blame Game about all of your life's problems, as long as the finger doesn't end up pointed his way. Tonight was not his fault. You were both fucked up. He didn't mean to jizz on your favorite shirt. (He) wanna catch you at your best, oh / When your hair's a mess / You look so depressed / And you're filled with regret / And you feel like you gotta go home, oh / 'Cause these nights pass, so much quicker than the days did. He totally loves you at your messiest. Because he's sloppy, too. But he loves you, you great big mess.
If you go to a party and The Weeknd is The Host, maybe bring a friend, and establish some some safe words. He is Super Creeper right now. He's trying to get you to ride it out with his many boys. Um, I don't want to make too many assumptions, but I'm pretty sure his boys got a bunch of rashes that can't be ridden out.
You've been going hard baby, and maybe you should go home. NO, NOT WITH THE WEEKND, no matter what he promises you, it's going to be sketch city. The Initiation has him shifting his voice through some deepening effects. You must be super high if that sounds sexy to you. You're definitely not at a level of consent where you and The Weeknd should still be talking. He definitely shouldn't STILL be telling you to ride it out.
The Fall is just The Weeknd letting you know he's going to blow money on you irresponsibly. Like, his 401K is NONexistent. You're going to get positively wrecked if you go out with him tonight, but he's not going to have enough left over to take a Lyft home tomorrow, so plan accordingly. He does a really good of reconfirming the album feel here, referencing previous songs, and hinting at songs to come. He has set up a whole vernacular for this rapey party scene.
Next does not come with an Aria Grande Thank You. Don't let the sultry piano and the moaning fool you, he's going to do you dirtier than Bieber ever did Grande. He's going to write songs about you where you are nothing but a person who done him wrong. And, again, it's almost definitely not your fault. When you sing this many songs about people who Done You Wrong, then You are the problem, not them. He's only 21 in this song, though, so trust he will get less creepier as he gets older. Prince did. I mean, he never got fully uncreepy, but he got significantly less creepier in his 30s and 40s. Oh, and he's definitely going to tell everyone you're a stripper and he met you in the club. He's Very 21. Yes, I know yes, I know yes, I know yes, I know.
Your honor, in the case of The Weeknd vs. All The Girls He Writes About On This Album, we'd like to present you with the lyrics to his song, Echoes Of Silence. Talk to me baby / Tell me what you're feeling / You say you don't need to go / Don't you pretend you didn't know / How all of this would end up / Girl, I saw it in your eyes / And baby I can read your mind / And expectations were not in sight / You knew that talking dirty to me / On the phone would get me here / 'Cause we both wanted to do this / But I could tell that you were scared / 'Cause you thought there was more to us / But you knew how this would end / It's gonna end how you expected girl / You're such a masochist and I ask why / And you reply/ I like the thrill / Nothing's gonna make me feel this real / So baby don't go home / I don't wanna spend tonight alone / Baby please / Would you end your night with me / Don't you leave me all behind / Don't you leave my little life / Don't you leave my little life. The Defense rests, Your Honor.
The song that propelled me from thinking of doing a reimagined discography of Michael Jackson to this one of The Weeknd is The Weeknd's cover of Jackson's Dirty Diana. It's pretty safe. It has the dark, atmospheric instrumentation of the rest of The Weeknd's album, but the vocals are almost precisely MJ. Usually, I like my covers to do a bit more, but this works out really well. It also lets me put this on work mixes. One of my coworkers like's Michael Jackson's songs, but can't listen to more than one of them, so having well done covers available is super helpful. And, yea, this is another song where a woman is blamed for being promiscuous, even though the singer is clearly a hornball / borderline sex offender. So, right in The Weeknd's wheelhouse.
Climbing out of the end of "Dirty Diana" is What You Need. Don't believe his nonsense about how your ex is what you want but how The Weeknd is what you need. He's clearly delusional. Unless you don't have a ride home from his house (an actual ride, not the kind he sings about), then you don't need a thing from him.
We get a little bit of bright, sunshiney guitar at the beginning of The Morning before THe Weeknd announces that he's fucken gone right now. All that money, the money is the motive, he sings over and over. See? You're just a prop in his song. Get out of there!
Are you ready for the pace to pick up, and everything to really rock out? Well, The Weeknd is too High For This, so don't hold your breath. This is another slow grind song about love. Only this time, he's letting you know that you want to be high before you fuck him, which doesn't seem super consensual.
Ooooh, here's some more upbeat rhythm. House Of Balloons (Glass Table Girls). He is still reminding you that fucking him is better when you're high, which is still problematic as fuck, Mr. The Weeknd. I'm seriously wondering if you aren't the worst lay in the world, and that's why you demand everyone get fucked up, so you can write mean songs about them later. It's Not Cool.
We end the album with some Wicked Games, as The Weeknd reminds you that he never loved you, and you never loved him, either. This whole ... night ? weekend ? month ? year ? was nothing but The Weeknd trying to get his dick wet (and jizz on your shirt, Never Forget). I hope you get over him soon, because trust, he's always been over you, even if he does like the way you dance. There is also something perversely satisfying to hear The Weeknd end the album with the line Even though you don't love me. Bumper humper, you never loved her, either. Time to spit the martyr out of your mouth, cut down on the pill intake, and find something new to write about.