by CAROLINE GAVURA Sectioh Editor
Girls, drugs, and newfound fame are the subjects of The Weeknd’s debut studio album “Kiss Land”.
Once an anonymous artist living on the streets and making mixtapes in Scarborough, Ontario, Canada, Abel Tesfaye’s career has gone from zero to 60 in just a year. After growing a large following online, popular rapper Drake discovered the artist and featured him on his Grammy-winning album “Take Care”.
In September of 2012, Tesfaye signed with the label Republic Records and released a mix tape compilation album titled “Trilogy”, which received enormous praise from critics and fans alike.
“‘Trilogy’ was great because it was all of his mix tapes put together in one album! Now “Kiss Land” is out, his first real album, and it’s better than all his mix tapes combined,” said junior Bree Mckenna.
“Kiss Land”, which dropped September 10, 2013, starts right where “Trilogy” left off with slow tempos, rumbling bass, and forlorn echoes. It takes on a much darker approach than his previous work, with warnings about the dangers that come with being famous.
“That’s what ‘Kiss Land’ is to me, an environment that’s just honest fear. I don’t know who I am right now and I’m doing all these outlandish things in these settings that I’m not familiar with. To me, it’s the most terrifying thing ever. So when you hear the screams in the record and you hear all these horror references and you feel scared, listen to the music because I want you to feel what I’m feeling. ‘Kiss Land’ is like a horror movie,” said Tesfaye in a recent interview with “Complex”.
Lyrically, “Kiss Land” is not revolutionary. It covers the usual sexual, drug-induced escapades Tesfaye is constantly involved in, but with a new fast-paced sound that contrasts completely with “Trilogy”‘s slow, calm tone.
“I think [‘Kiss Land’] is amazing and you can tell there is transition from his music in ‘Trilogy’ to the songs on this album. His music isn’t as amateur anymore and you can tell he has made progress since his first three mix tapes,” said sophomore Jada Minaya.
Popular songs on the album include: “Belong to the World”, “Live For”, and “Kiss Land”.
“Belong to the World”, which samples Portishead’s “Machine Gun”, features a much more masculine and direct side of The Weeknd, which is exactly what one hopes for on a major album debut.
“Live For” features Tesfaye’s mentor and friend, Drake, and mixes their sounds to create a beautiful rap and R&B masterpiece.
Finally, “Kiss Land”, the title track of the album, is not very structured, but contains a line that sums up the theme of the entire album: “I went from staring at the same four walls for 21 years to seeing the whole world in 12 months.”
Many of you might have asked yourselves if The Weeknd’s music could get any more somber than “Trilogy” and the answer to that question is YES. Although this album displays a very solemn attitude toward love and fame, and is at times extremely emotional, “Kiss Land” is still an overall great album.
I give “Kiss Land” four out of five stars. Even though this album is just more of the same old, same old, it is a beautifully written, dance-inducing same old, same old.
What was your favorite song off of “Kiss Land”?