Music Review: Starboy


Campbell MacKinnon

On November 25th of this year Abel Tesfaye (more commonly known as “The Weeknd”) released his third studio album entitled “Starboy.” The album features 18 songs for a total run time of an hour and eight minutes. The album contains four more songs than Tesfaye’s previous release, “Beauty Behind the Madness,” and also carries a significantly different sound than his prior work. The sound of the album in undeniably pop influenced, and features production from Daft Punk. 


With the specifics out of the way, i’ll jump into my opinion. Starboy is by no means Tesfaye’s best work. The album definitely features many catchy and lyrically interesting songs, but it doesn’t carry the same amount of weight as an album like Beauty Behind the Madness or Trilogy. It also meanders on for far too long as songs become more and more repetitive as the album progresses. Song structure seems almost formulaic, “Ordinary Life,” and “Love to Lay,” possessing an almost identical verse, pre-chorus then chorus style. Another thing that baffles me is the almost obsessive number of times that expensive cars are referenced throughout the album. How many times you ask? Too many. The album as a whole seems confused, with songs like “A Lonely Night” the Weeknd preaching about one night stands and leading women on, while only three songs later on “Nothing Without You,” the Weeknd sings about true love and wanting more out of a relationship. While the overall sound is consistent, the drugged-out, hazy vibe that fans of the Weeknd know and love is lost in the noise. I think in this sense Starboy is a turning point in the Weeknd’s career. He has expressed many times his love for Michael Jackson, and this album emulates (or at least takes inspiration from) Michael Jackson. Whether Tesfaye will continue with this style of music or return to the dark, hazy R&B vibe that first garnered him attention remains to be seen. Overall I think the album is about average, maybe slightly above. I still love the Weeknd as an artist and wouldn’t mind seeing him explore this more pop-oriented sound that Starboy features. If it wasn’t already clear after Tesfaye chopped off his signature mane of hair, we’re in for a new kind of style from the Weeknd, but I hope that for his and his fans sake that his next album is a step up from this one.