The Weeknd returns to his more mysterious, brooding roots with his most recent album release, My Dear Melancholy.
The R&B singer has been criticised in recent years for compromising his original sound for a highly commercialised version of himself with more tightly produced, mainstream pop music that appeals more to the masses.
The Weeknd’s broke into the pop industry with his song ‘The Hills’, becoming a household name and essentially sparking his chart-topping success.
This album marks a rebirth of his humble beginnings.
The singer began his career as an anonymous YouTube account, posting mixtapes under the name of The Weeknd. The smooth and sensual voice of this singer rose rapidly to stardom and people were eager to discover the face and name behind the singer.
My Dear Melancholy resonates more closely with the original mixtapes, ‘House of Balloons’ and the ‘Trilogy Tapes’ that The Weeknd anonymously posted to YouTube at the beginning of his career.
The sound is experimental and cleverly produced to create a sense of lost love and longing in his music. The tone is gloomy in a sense, with rhythmic beats that make the songs capable of chart success.
The Weeknd’s beginnings were raw and perplexing, yet his album ‘Starboy’, released in 2016 can be described as heavily produced chart-topper and a far cry from his early experimental style.
The Weeknd’s relationship with model Bella Hadid ended in November 2016, with him then dating singer Selena Gomez until October 2017. These relatively recent relationships are speculated to be a huge muse for this album.
Since the beginning of his music career, The Weeknd has raked up a net worth of $92 million and has had high profile relationships which seemingly feature as inspiration for his current album release.
The six-track album delves back into a darker R&B style, with his lyrics exploring lost love and broken relationships.
The Weeknd’s relationship with Hadid is presumed to feature in wasted times, with reference to her past as an equestrian.
He refers to the ‘Wasted times I spent with someone else/ She wasn’t even half of you’. This lyric is speculated to refer to Selena Gomez and their wasted relationship.
Gomez is also believed to act as inspiration for the song ‘Privilege’, in what seems to be an ex-lover’s final goodbye.
The 21-minute-long album is a breakup album, exploring the love and loss, where at times The Weeknd seems to be pleading for a chance to reignite a lost bond and at others simply acknowledging a loss and looking for blame to place.
Despite the album being hailed as a less pop R&B style of music, it still managed to secure its position in the number 1 place on the Billboard 100 chart, an ode to the popularity of The Weeknd and his huge fanbase.
The album explores The Weeknd in a difficult headspace, unsure of how to heal the wounds of love he has been left with and anxious not to open himself up to pain and suffering.