The Weeknd has a brand to maintain. I get it.
For all the sex he's getting on the road, for all the drugs he's taking, and for all the times he sings about all of it, no wonder his video are always gray-hued, with washed out specters of women floating about him like he's the center of the saddest little universe.
But, damn Weeknd, can't it be any fun at all? Because lines like “She gon' give it up 'cause she know she might like it” (ugh) and “All my hoes are trained, I make all of them swallow” (TRIPLE UGH) are depressing as hell for your females, what are you dragging your sad-ass feet for?
I'm referring to “King of the Fall,” a title so morose Drake's kicking himself for not thinking of it first. And the Toronto connect is a propos, as The Weeknd (aka Abel Tesfaye) takes a stroll through his hometown, with cameos from locals like Jazz Cartier. While the slow-motions between beddings and parties and the street keep the singer and producer looking cool, check out the Confederate flag up at the world's most melancholy dance fiesta. How about the rain and the pace and the longing glances when Adderall is his atmosphere? Someone should call his mom, because I'm freaked out.
All this: a shame, because “King of Pain,” er, “King of the Fall” is one of the better engineered and mixed songs we've heard from The Weeknd ever. It's a slow creep (heh), with a crescendo that will have you thinking you've got a midget on your chest too.
It arrives on the heels of another new single from Weeknd, “Often,” out last week, which has a similarly looping, repeating, sweet-dripping chorus that belies an equally messed up premise of one of his one-night-stands: he does it how he wants it, and is happy to hand off that pussy to one of his crew when he's done.
Hey, he's talking about groupies: we could talk about power, fame, empowerment, gender and commodification for days. There, again, though is that deficit, a melancholy that creeps into seemingly all of The Weeknds endeavors, making these ballads and especially the music videos hurt for the audience like a VD flare-up. He's not extolling his life as healthy, he hints at the “temporary-ness” of it, but then again here are a series of women as props, clothed and unclothed, “performing” for the Dr. Frownpants who need do little else in his videos except float through them, like it's all “happening” to him, almost like a victim and not a participant. (Robin Thicke has a penchant for that too.)
If only he didn't sing so beautifully? If only some of those choices on synths and beats didn't hurt so hard with him? Wishing this was in gibberish.
“Often” and “King of the Fall” arrive ahead of The Weeknd's outing with Jhene Aiko for the King Of The Fall Tour, four dates below.
09/19 – Brooklyn, NY @ Barclays Center
09/21 – Toronto, Canada @ Molson Ampitheatre
10/09 – Hollywood, CA @ Hollywood Bowl
10/10 – San Francisco, CA @ Bill Graham Civic Auditorium