The Weeknd Thursday(Self-Released) Buy it from Insound
Thursday, The Weeknd’s follow-up and sequel to his ridiculously good House of Balloons, begins desperately. He was left empty and shallow on his previous album, and his characters confidence has been shattered. Opener Lonely Star sounds like a pathetic plea for the girl of his affections on that particular evening to sleep with him, offering her fame and jewels. It’s not the same cocksure Abel Tesfaye that, through all the depression and emptiness, confidently took girls back to his two floor loft in the middle of the city. He’s broken and weak, washed up.
Life of the Party and Thursday continue in the same desperate vein, wandering through a drugged haze that he’s failed to pull himself from. He knew his lifestyle would catch him, and it has. The Zone is the first truly heartbreaking song of the record, with Tesfaye telling the girl he’s with “I’ll be making love to her through you/so let me keep my eyes closed”. Drake makes an excellent appearance here as well. The two of them propel each other to greater heights than they’ve reached before.
That same track is also one of the few songs that focus on Tesfaye’s vocals and lyrics as much as Balloons did. The musical side of Thursday is more intriguing, but it takes a slight toll on the emotional impact of the record. When I say slight, I mean slight. Tesfaye still manages to expertly control the mood of the album even with the decreased space to move about in. The Birds Pt. I is musically busy, and he simply repeats “don’t make me make you fall in love with a ni**er like me”, but does it with great effect. His skill as a vocalist is still incredible, and he sings every note with believable conviction.
Rolling Stone, like The Zone, gives him room to tell his story. The song barely moves forward, but then again, neither does his mood. He’s just abusing his body until he can’t feel anymore, a situation he continually encounters. Heaven or Las Vegas finds his world crashing down around him again, just as it did on Balloons closer The Knowing.
Thursday doesn’t nearly live up to the shocking quality of its predecessor, but it hardly matters. In the moment, the album is still a gut wrenching story of a desperate, broken man. The music is busier, giving Tesfaye less space, but it sounds more like part of an overall evolution than a mistake. Thursday is, yet again, more than a free mixtape. It’s yet another labor of love from The Weeknd, and it does not disappoint.8 November, 2011 - 18:49 — Andrew Baer