Sunday, August 28, 2011

Review of The Weeknd’s “House of Balloons”



Born Abel Tesfaye, Canadian singer The Weeknd emerged “out of nowhere” on the music scene in 2011, dropping his mixtape “House of Ballons” as the first installment of a three-part musical project ( Part 2 “Thursday” just dropped on the 18th of August) . With the recent recognition and high praise from fellow Canadian artist Drake, I’m excited to see what the future holds for this new artist. Unfortunately, even with his new found success I’ve yet to sit down and listen to his project in full. So tonight ladies and gentlemen, I am going to turn up my speakers, relax my mind and see if I can vibe with The Weeknd in this “House of Balloons” he’s created.

The Weeknd “High For This”The song begins with an eerie type of sound and feel that reminds me of background music you’d hear on X-Files. Then the beat drops…… The production is simple! Soft chords playing with hard hittin drums heard ALL THE WAY in the background of the song (reminds me of Drake’s producer 40’s style) . The Weeknd’s vocal style excites me! Blame it on the fact that I haven’t really heard a voice like his before and that doesn’t happen often. While listening closely to the lyrics, it’s easy to imagine the scene! Sounds to me like he’s trying to reassure a female ,who might be having doubts about the situation she’s put herself in, that everything will be okay & she’ll definitely “wanna be high for this”. I must say I love the creativity of it all. It’s not everyday you hear a concept like this accompanied by vocals and music that paint the story.Great work!

The Weeknd “What You Need”
The vocal sample is nice on the intro…simple, but it meshes well with a beat that I can only define as unique , due to an interesting choice of chords and drum choice. The Weeknd comes in on top of this weird-sounding beat with his own distinctive brand of vocals. Once again my imagination comes into play while I listen to him explain how he can please this girl better than her man can. You may “want” your boyfriend but The Weeknd’s letting you know he is what you NEED and even goes as far to compare his lovin’ to a drug in your veins. What I like is that anyone not listening close enough to the music and lyrics might miss the raw and sometimes raunchy visuals hidden in the song in plain sight! For example lyrics like “I got you on the floor,doing things you never thought you’d do. Baby leave them high heel shoes. ‘Cause I’m loving the way you looking down at me, I’m looking up at you & I don’t give a damn shorty watch me knock your boots off” brings to head a “XXX” type of vision in my mind. ::shrug:: One criticism I do have is how the Weeknd sings! I like the fact that it’s different but sometimes I really wish he woulda took more of an R&B approach to how he sang some of his lyrics. He kind of reminds me of the guitar playing Asian r&b singers you see on youtube! It can get annoying. I’ll get used to it though.

The Weeknd “House of Balloons/ Glass Table Girls
The song reminds me of something you might hear in the 80s..something like soft rock! The beat helps a lot with bringing that vibe to this track but if you listen closely you can hear some dubstep/electronica influences as well. The track brings to mind a visual of a 70s swinger type party where everyone is off doing their own “thing”. I’m guessing the balloons would be some type of erotic fetish…Hmm I don’t know but that’s the vibe I’m getting’ & I love how any listener with a wild imagination can be there in the room if they want… Genius! I’m starting to get the theme of this artist now… Stories of the experiences of the 80s youth maybe?…idk! I’ll listen a little more
The song cuts to a part “b” entitled “Glass Table Girls”. It’s weird to me how it goes from them singing about a “Happy House” into such a dark sounding selection. Reminds me of dubstep and the lyrics are once again “raw” ….. Sounds again like misguided youth enjoying their life to the fullest under the influence of whatever it is they prefer! ::Shrug:: The sex and drug references in these tracks are at high levels so far!

“"I heard he do drugs now"
You heard wrong I been on them for a minute
We just never act a fool
That's just how we fuckin' livin
And when we act a fool
Its probably cause we mixed it"

The Weeknd “The Morning”
This is the first song I heard by The Weeknd and I was walkin’ round singin’ it for like a week. This guy’s music really paints a picture on the minds of those who listen to music with an open canvas! This song is like an ode to the girls out there doing “something strange for a piece of change” basically… The song’s like a play by play on the life of one of these girls! The beat and music go perfectly with the story The Weeknd tells with his smooth ass singing! Lol My only critique is that the second verse kind of ruined the vision I had for the song. It was random to
me…

The Weeknd “Wicked Games”Damn! This song is deep… I feel the emotion! Chick hurt him so bad that he tries to find love in a strip club or a hotel room. Such an angelic male voice with SUCH a potty mouth! The two combined makes The Weeknd so off the wall to me along with all the other creative aspects of his music. This song makes me think of two broken hearted people trying to “erase” their pain with not only sex and drugs but a couple minutes/hours of a “love” they think they need or maybe even a false sense of love masked by an understanding they share because of a mutual pain “inside”/mentally. They both just wanna be loved just for the night…::sigh:: I really think anyone who can’t relate might have find a problem when trying to enjoy the music.

The Weeknd “The Party & The Afterparty”
The title of the song immediately puts you in the mindset of being at a party and the music helps you reach that destination in your mind. So far, the music, the lyrics, and The Weeknd’s voice always mesh so well…. Like each was made for the other! It’s a pleasure to hear! The song reminds me O.C parties where the White kids get WILD!! (something like the show “Skins” This music would be perfect for that soundtrack) This is like their story to me as well…It’s different than rock music with bands screamin’ … it’s classier in sound but dirty nonetheless! It’s like a 70’s swinger type lifestyle in modern time. Like time repeating itself. This song is really making me want to see The Weeknd Live! The end of this song reminds me of the way an artist would perform at a gig! Just vibin’ to their own music…

The Weeknd “Coming Down”
Oh my gosh! Who are the producers for this boy! The music is epic… unlike anything “radio ready”. This is definitely I could “come down” to! …. With the vocals or without! ::shrug:: Funny thing tho… The Weeknd uses “the n word” so many times throughout this whole project but he sounds so out of place saying it! But I still love that he uses it and the way he does… That’s how I talk about my peoples too.. or “them niggas over there” aka “them other niggas”… & I prolly sound out of place sayin it too so I can relate! His vocals on this track are pretty solid… Michael Jackson would have KILLED THIS BEAT!! Just a thought! Lol

The Weeknd “Loft Music”
I hear offbeat drumming! Lol I like it… drumming that’s so on the offbeat its on… good shxt! I’m about a minute and 7 seconds into the song and I’m ready to press next!.... I’mma listen all the way through because the song is 6 minutes long! I’m pretty sure it’ll change up eventually…lol but I will say this… I looked up the lyrics to this because I couldn’t focus for some reason.. his voice started to honestly annoy me.. doing the same pattern over and over but after looking up the lyrics… WOW! The imagery attached to those words is amazing! The delivery sadly fell flat! On life this boy needs to have a movie attached to this album! Like a story how they did for Pink Floyd's Off the Wall (which is something I must watch before I die lol)… the visuals would be amazing! The end of this song is something you can listen and get “lost” to.

The Weeknd “The Knowing”Damn! I love this song already mainly because it sounds like words I’ve said and emotions I’ve felt & though it’s a little creepy to hear them in a song I’ve never heard before it’s down right amazing! I’m sure it’ll hit home for any listener who’s been in a situation where they knew the person they were in a relationship with was cheatin’ on them and they did the same to them in return! Maan! Great music… & what better way to end such an amazing project

In a Nut Shell:
The Weeknd can be considered a breath of fresh air in a world where music is beginning to all sound the same. He can simply be described as a raw, rebellious, provocative entertainer with a “lifestyle” you’d only experience if you lived it yourself or caught a glimpse of any form of adult entertainment from the 60’s and 70’s. He gives listeners a glimpse into a “different” world. The great thing about The Weeknd is that he can hide all “that pain” behind such a beautiful voice but I can hear it loud and clear and I’m glad he got some of those things off of his chest! I was often able to relate to some of the situations he had been in and it helped me to enjoy the music that much more & sometimes I found myself wanting to just turn it off cause he was hittin’ the nail on the head maybe a little too hard! I just downloaded his next project named “Thursday” and I am excited to listen to it in a few days after the effects of this masterpiece have worn off a little! Props are due to Ill Angelo and Doc Mckinney for the production on this joint! #Classic! I’m gonna go watch some of the video’s for these songs now!You can listen to “House of Balloons” yourself by visiting the Weeknd’s official website The-Weeknd.com

xYung Miss aka Danielle Phoenix