The Weeknd – 'Trilogy'
By Oliver Keens
R&B rarely looks at life in anything other than black and white. Love is the best, except when it’s bad, in which case it’s the absolute worst. Constant partying and sex have no side effects, and if anything goes wrong, it’s always someone else’s fault.
Providing some much-needed shades of grey is Canadian Abel Tesfaye, working under his nom de croon, The Weeknd – a character lost in a vapid whirlpool of druggy sex, strip clubs and self-loathing. What’s fascinating is that he both knows it and communicates it so engagingly on ‘Trilogy’, a major label compilation of his three excellent self-released mixtapes.
Rapping over beats that are intimate and occasionally disorientating, Tesfaye is riveting when he juxtaposes debauchery with a delivery that finds him numb and on the verge of tears (as on ‘The Fall’).
While many will have heard ‘Trilogy’ already, its physical release is welcome, adding some honesty and maturity to the R&B charts that Labrinth and Chris Brown have yet to bring.