A friend introduced me to this the other day and I haven’t stopped listening to it. You may have heard of The Weeknd but if you haven’t you probably would have sooner or later.
It was late at night, and we may or may not have had a dirty ciggie but we had most definitely knocked back a few glasses of “dirty” Pimms. Ah, the rites of spring. Anyway this friend of mine fancies himself as a bit of a master of the decks and was teaching me the basics of deejaying when he put this on.
The House of Balloons album has been causing quite a stir on the internet. For starters you can download the entire mixtape for free from The Weeknd’s website. Secondly, it seems to be breathing life into the jaded, tired world of r’n’b. Having said that, r’n’b seems too narrow a categorisation although Rhianna would give her right arm for opening track, “High for This”.
Fronted by vocalist Abel Testfaye, The Weeknd pour everything from fellow Canadian, Drake, to Massive Attack, Burial and R kelly into some sort of twisted sonic food processor to come up with a dark, seductive blend of of slow jams and electro. What really marks them out are their disturbing, drug-infused lyrics. For instance, “High for This” has Testfaye cooing: Hold tight, for this ride/ we don’t need no protection…. open your hand, take a glass, don’t be scared, i’m right here/ even though, you don’t want, trust me girl, you wanna be high for this.
Like I said, dark stuff.
They offer a peek into a nightmarish world of kinky sex, perversion and self-loathing. Not immediately sexy and definitely not one for the kids but Testfaye’s almost angelic lilt is a Trojan horse that you kind of want to let in_