My Dear Melancholy, review: The Weeknd returns to his roots with songs about crumbling relationships
The title of the Weeknd's latest release — My Dear Melancholy, — comes with a comma at the end because this six-track long EP is a letter by the R&B superstar addressing his own sadness and the inability to cope with crumbling relationships.
The title of the Weeknd's latest release — My Dear Melancholy, — comes with a comma at the end because this six-track long EP is a letter by the R&B superstar addressing his own sadness and the inability to cope with crumbling relationships. My Dear Melancholy, was released out of nowhere, as if the Weekend wanted these tracks to be out there for someone to hear. It's more of a personal project rather than a release rooted in attaining commercial success or scoring chart hits. This is evident as you go through My Dear Melancholy, track-by-track.
What would you get if your ex-boyfriend, apart from having a beautiful singing voice, was prone to drunk-dialing with depressing tales about how he's been handling the break-up and what he intends to do next? You'll get My Dear Melancholy,. While the Weeknd's efforts seem genuine, you have to wonder how much you really ever cared about a pop-star dating a supermodel, or a pop-star dating another pop-star.
Selena Gomez and Bella Hadid, two of the Weeknd's former love interests, find themselves become a prominent part of My Dear Melancholy,. On the opening track 'Call Out My Name', the Weeknd belts out mournful verses about his split with Selena Gomez. In a clichéd tale about falling for someone only to watch them leave, the Weeknd is heard almost pleading for his lady love to 'call out his name'. Much of the lyrical content on My Dear Melancholy, is excruciatingly self-centered. Being left alone despite giving your all to the person you love is an oft-repeated theme on My Dear Melancholy,. 'Call Out My Name', produced by Frank Dukes (who recently produced hits like Camila Cabello's 'Havana', Post Malone's 'Congratulations', and Lorde's 'Green Light'), samples the Oscar nominated track 'Earned It', but with more interesting sonic touches.
On the following track 'Try Me', produced by Mike WiLL Made-It, Frank Dukes and the Weeknd's frequent collaborator DaHeala, the singer returns to his signature somber and haunting tones. The relaxed vibe of the track is juxtaposed with the urgency of the lyrics as the Weeknd tries to convince his former lover to leave her current partner for him. Fans of the Weeknd who have been waiting for him to return to his roots will be delightfully surprised with 'Try Me'. The track brushes the borders of the darkness found in the Weeknd's older work, but doesn't get in there head-on.
On 'Wasted Times', a track produced by Skrillex, the Weeknd sheds more of his sadness without making it seem like he's doing so. Skrillex brings a chilled-out deep house feel to 'Wasted Times' which helps the Weeknd vent and come clean of the feelings he has carried within him since the fall of his two relationships. There's something about being romantically involved with someone that hasn't gone down well with the Weeknd, and he's unable to shake it off.
While on the first three tracks the Weeknd complains, pleads, and whines about his failed relationships and putting trust in people, the last three tracks display a much wider perspective. Both 'I Was Not There' and 'Hurt You' has been produced by French DJ and producer Gesaffelstein, and are the two best tracks on My Dear Melancholy,. 'I Was Not There' starts off with an attention grabbing melody played in a screechy tone on a synthesizer. The drowsy flow gives the song a desolate feel that'll make the hearts of longtime Weeknd fans flutter with joy.
'Hurt You' follows a similar pattern with the synthesizer's audacious screechy sound reduced to a soft tune over heavy bass beats as the Weeknd shifts the blame for his sadness from one person to another. He reaches a conclusion by the time we hear 'Hurt You' (And now I know relationship's my enemy/So stay away from me/I'm warning you/You try to fill the void with every man you meet/'Cause you're upset with me I'm warning you).
On 'Privilege', the shortest track on the 22-minute-long EP, the Weeknd takes a shot at someone by saying 'enjoy your privileged life' — an ironic thing to say as he himself now dwells in massive amount of wealth. But the point of My Dear Melancholy, is to present the evolution of Abel Tesfaye as an individual. He clears his thoughts on love, relationships, faithfulness, and making yourself emotionally available. And with that, My Dear Melancholy, marks the end of another chapter in the Weeknd's life.
From being a nameless nobody to carving out a place for himself in contemporary pop music, Tesfaye has, over the period of last three years, become demystified. His singing remains as powerful as ever, but the constant hopes that he'd return to his roots and drop the highly stylized and over-the-top approach of 2016's Starboy has persisted.
The reason behind the Weeknd releasing My Dear Melancholy, is not to go back to his old style of gloomy and hypnotic R&B; nor is it because of his want to conquer the charts. My Dear Melancholy, is an EP that the Weeknd had to release to move onto the next phase of musical creativity. He is indifferent to what the listeners think, or how the tracks are perceived; its purpose has been fulfilled by just putting these songs out there.
So what should we expect? Is this the first of more EPs to come that'll eventually turn into a full-length studio album? Or is this all we get to hear from the Weeknd for now? Whatever it is, the next stage in the Weeknd's life will hopefully produce something we haven't heard from him before.
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