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Tuesday, August 22, 2017
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The Weeknd: 'House of Balloons' – 4.5 out of 5 stars

Tags: Music Reviews

The Weeknd has been taking the hype-machine for a joyride all over roads of the Internet since the release of its enigmatic-fueled, Internet R&B mix-tape _House of Balloons. Taking a cue from the 21st Century J.J. Abrams-coined sleight of hand that teases the truth through mystery, The Weekend has slow-played its hand to the Internet. It both intrigues and ensnares an audience as they reveal one little, clever detail at a time.

Stemming from the inclusive coolness of Abel Tesfaye's voice, House of Balloons rings with a bittersweet confidence that knows both the steamy, club culture and complications of modern relationships. With the calm, spaciousness of the sampled production, the whole tape keeps the same great stillness - never over-bearing, never boring. Even the basic song formula: pills, sex, weed, love, repeat, stays Ziploc fresh with each song.

The Weeknd is reviving the body of R&B, but it's not CPR. R&B has been - aside from The-Dream - dead for the last couple years: Usher left for Pop stardom, Justin went AWOL in Hollywood, R.Kelly got locked back in the closet. What The Weeknd has created is a Frankenstein of R&B, but rather than a skin-grafted freak, it's a sleek-ass model freshly out of plastic surgery; the influences are obvious, but the body of work is Botox seamless.

But the No. 1 reason The Weekend is so damn great isn't the genius word play or the smart sample production. It's that the music is modern. It's about the shit that's happening to a generation and the shit a generation is taking to get away, and it sounds just as good as any of those drugs, except there's no coming down.

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