Back in 2011, the little-known Abel Tesfaye, AKA The Weeknd, released a trilogy of critically acclaimed mixtapes all instantly recognisable by their nocturnal aesthetics of sparse, synth-heavy R&B production and lyrics concerning drug overdoses and sexual hedonism. Tesfaye’s identity was shrouded in mystery, hidden behind his signature falsetto, and when the live shows came along, said falsetto was barely audible over the adulating screams of his largely female fan base. Skip to 2016 and Tesfaye has migrated to the mainstream charts, having earned himself a string of Billboard Number Ones from his ‘Beauty Behind The Madness’ release and two wonderfully ironic nominations for Kids’ Choice Awards, including one for the thinly-veiled ode to cocaine addiction, ‘I Can’t Feel My Face’. With the release of his third studio album, ‘Starboy’, then, it seems The Weeknd is continuing his is quest for pop-R&B superstardom, attendant with a (marginally) cleaner image.
Read the rest of the piece on Clash Magazine.
[This piece was originally published in Clash Magazine on 5/12/16]