The latest mixtape from The Weeknd is beautiful music written from some low places. It’s drunk, high, a little manic depressive, and really wants to get in your pants.
The first track sets the tone — a cover of Michael Jackson’s “Dirty Diana” (titled “D.D.”) in which Abel Tesfaye nails the tension in M.J.’s voice while bringing a much heavier hand to the production. That vocal quality holds up through the whole mixtape, with the exception of “Initiation,” where he’s artificially messing with the speed and making the pitch slide around in an unsettling way. Everything keeps getting woozier from there, as if Tesfaye is getting more messed up, the whole time menacing and seducing. The nominal, final track “Echoes Of Silence” is particularly gorgeous and sad. Tesfaye pleads not to be left tonight over somber chords from the piano.
The whole thing feels like a night out gone bad — getting a little too fucked up, aggressively trying to seduce someone, and ending up alone — but it makes being a wreck sound very pretty.