It was only a matter of time before the relentless festival grind seeped into The Weeknd’s music. After delivering three projects of dark, gloomy, D&B (drugs and blues), Abel drops off his latest single “I Can’t Feel My Face” in all of its splendid pop glory.
Utilizing a funk beat produced by Max Martin – yes, the same pop genius who brought Taylor Swift to mainstream superstardom with 1989 – and Michael Jackson-style adlibs all over, “I Can’t Feel My Face” is a reasonably good Bruno Mars song but feels off for somebody that we used to know.
The problem is when we listen to The Weeknd we want Abel in his darkest hour. With bugs crawling all over his skin, drip in the back of his throat and a dusty mirror lying across the ottoman, his music comes across as authentic. On “Face,” it sounds like an A&R has asked the XO crew to come back to the label with something that people will dance at weddings to this summer.
Knowing that he’s enlisted the Swedish producer Martin, who’s worked with acts like Backstreet Boys, Britney, N’Sync and Christina Aguilera, makes sense given the sonic orientation of the track but it’s a disappointing confirmation that we may have lost the gritty soul we once relied on for the soundtrack to our most evil hours.
Not for nothing, the song’s pretty good and it’ll definitely stick with radio and the monochromatic festival crowd, despite the dope-tinted lyrics. With captivating melodies and a simple hook, the tune will be heard far and wide this summer but if it’s a precursor to the new album, maybe Abel needs to get back to the traphouse for a few months to catch the vibe again.
Update: Continuing in the current trend of leaked songs coming in bunches, two other new numbers from The Weeknd have made their way online. One, “In The ’90s,” is a snippet while “In The Night” shares a similar King Of Pop vibe as “I Can’t Feel My Face.”
Stream the song below and purchase it on iTunes.