Wednesday, February 1, 2012
The Volume In The ‘Echoes’
His praises have been sung by MTV, BET, Rolling Stone, XXL, The Source, and 2DopeBoyz. They have all dubbed him the "Songbird of his Generation", as well as the "best musical talent since Michael Jackson" (John Norris, MTV).
I quoted this rave review in a previous story. A ‘Weeknd’ Warrior was the title. When I read the review I was a bit skeptical of that outlandish statement. My thinking was pretty short sided. In my mind to compare anyone to the late (still hard to write that) Michael Jackson, The King Of Pop, is tantamount to the basest form of blasphemy. But as a writer I had to look at this from a neutral standpoint. I needed to put my previous notions aside to really listen and digest The Weeknd’s album.
So I started with Echoes Of Silence.
The first song on the nine track album?
When I heard what the song was there was a certain level of providence. “D.D.” was “Dirty Diana”. I loved the Michael Jackson version but I was going to give The Weeknd’s version a fair shake.
So I listened.
I am glad that I did.
“D.D.” takes a Michael Jackson standard and somehow manages to pay homage to our greatest musical legend while staying true to The Weeknd’s eclectic and unique style. When you listen to the original “Dirty Diana” you are caught up in the slow building of that story about treacherous Diana. Somehow Weend borrows and perfectly emulates the vibe while making it a contemporary piece.
Aristotle once said that all art is imitation. Here we see that The Weeknd does not try to trace MJ’s work, rather looks at it and freehand draws a wonderful interpretation.
That hooked me.
“Initiation” was a favorite. The voice changes blends so well and so flawlessly it is almost not noticeable. Here there is no need for guest features or transplanted verses. This is all him in his eerily haunting delivery of purest beauty. It is a vocal kaleidoscope that plays with elements of DJ Screw’s wildest codeine induced fantasies.
“Next” is the final song I will feature. This is a track that causes a chain reaction within you. It moves from your head, down to your shoulders. It has a haunting quality despite the heartbreaking theme of it. And like any good haunt it refuses to let you go. As with all the songs he needs very little music to capture you perfectly. People often forget that the voice is the most amazing instrument but The Weeknd keeps his tuned and playing flawlessly.
Maybe they were right about him, readers.
I’ll reserve the final judgment until after I listen to House Of Balloons and Thursday. I will say that he’s making me a believer.