We’re not even at the start of The Weeknd‘s My Dear Melancholy, and that extraneous comma is already exhausting us. Sigh, here we go again Abel.
The good news? This mini-album or EP or whatever he’s calling it is much better than Starboy. In its six tracks it packs more of an impact than anything across that slog of a commercial stream-trap, and goes a fair way in restoring The Weeknd’s lost glory.
Don’t get us wrong, the lyrics are still a fuckload of fuckboi self-pity that makes us want to immolate ourselves rather than have to deal with The Weeknd’s second-hand pain. But Call Out My Name does well with its measured approach, a light backing allowing Tesfaye’s vocals to dominate that rich, melodic chorus in a way that only he can. It’s one of his best songs in ages, and it reminds us of what The Weeknd is capable of when shit clicks.
Of course, it means there’s no excuse for any other half-arsed efforts. Try Me is a valiant effort but falls into a lot of Tesfaye’s own copycat style; Wasted Times is slightly more agile, and it certainly feels like the last bright spark before two cumbersome Gesaffelstein tracks upend the balance.
And then comes Privilege, a rare moment of genuine remorse that doesn’t overblow its emotion or production. If there’s anything that holds this collection back, though, it’s once again The Weeknd himself. Like a male Lana Del Rey, he’s recycling the same tropes and lines with literally no novel insight, wrapping up decade-old phrases as grievances and relying on his (admittedly better-than-ever) voice to do the rest. If he start putting as much effort in to the words themselves, The Weeknd might finally justify his star status once and for all.