The Weeknd’s first mixtape “House of Balloons” has its name incorporated into the set of “The Zone,” the tracks that features the singer’s collaboration with Canadian kinsman Drake. I take the Zone, then, to mean that House of Balloons is closer to a haunted house of ex-girlfriends, sad and echoing of the horrors of empty sex. And “The Zone” itself is its soundtrack.
In the clip for recently released “Wicked Games,” a beautiful girl hangs around — again — in lingerie, appearing as an apparition or a memory, just as the teenaged-dreamy one does in “The Zone.” The same could be said of austere “Rolling Stone.” They all seem to represent different women, or the “experience” of each woman, as if sex and love were happening to the Weeknd, not as a relationship or a participatory event in which he plays a part. It seems very isolating, which goes hand-in-hand with that haunted sound.
He and Drake, then, make natural partners. You’ve seen the cover of “Take Care,” right?
“The Zone” arrived on the Weeknd’s second 2011 mixtape “Thursday,” which will be bundled with “House of Balloons” and third “Echoes of Silence” for the “Trilogy” compilation out on Nov. 13. Follow that? As part of that package, the Weeknd has completed additional bonus tracks. You’ll have a blue, blue Christmas.