Saturday, 4 February 2012

The Weeknd - Echoes Of Silence

Every once in a while an act will come from complete and utter obscurity, releasing tracks on the internet, and will one day, out of the blue be “discovered”. It’s happened before; just look at some acts from our dear old Blighty- Arctic Monkeys, Lily Allen and Kate Nash. This is most definitely the case for Abel Tesfaye, or The Weeknd as he is more commonly known. Notorious for releasing all his music for free on the internet and refusing to do interviews, the singer gained fans when fellow Canadian, Drake posted one of his tracks on Twitter. From there things snowballed, and suddenly The Weeknd was everywhere. In a few short years he has released three mixtapes, featured on Drake’s latest album and remixed Lady Gaga and Florence and the Machine, not bad for a newbie.

Echoes of Silence, his most recent mixtape was released on the internet for free, and was so in demand his website crashed due to the amount of people attempting to download it. The mixtape starts with “D.D”, a cover of Michael Jackson’s “Dirty Diana”. Only recently did I learn that the song was a cover, as it’s delivered convincingly and in such a powerful way that the song could easily be his own. It’s certainly an effective opener, filled with synthesizers and drumbeats reminiscent of Jamie xx’s solo work. This isn’t exactly surprising as The Weeknd’s work, musically, has already been compared to the xx’s debut, with its haunting melodies and drumbeats. Tesfaye’s voice is what carries the opening song, and in fact is the same of the whole album, there is something gripping about it that leaves you as a listener hanging on his every word. He’s been slated as “the best talent since Michael Jackson” and certainly the similarities between their voices are similar. However, Tesfaye makes no attempt to be a Jackson tribute act, which is very relieving.

My one complaint about this album is that as I listened to it, I found myself having to check what track as I was listening to, as after a while, they all begin to blend into one another. On first listen, I found myself musing that, aside from the lyrics, each track sounded pretty much the same. But after a few more listens, certain tracks did begin to stand out from the rest. “Montreal” is wonderful, with a rolling drumbeat and hushed vocals and each half of “XO/The Host is interesting but particularly the end half, a delicate and powerful ballad in which the synths” were kept to a bare minimum, allowing Tesfaye’s voice to shine through.


By Grace Barber-Plentie

No comments:

Post a Comment